How Fast is a Dolphin? Things To Know

How Fast is a Dolphin? Things To Know

Want to know how swift a dolphin is? The reason they can swim so quickly is something we should investigate.

Dolphins can be seen swimming quickly and are skilled swimmers. Dolphins are capable of swimming at a speed of up to 23 mph when they are pressed for time, but when they are performing routine tasks, they typically swim at a speed of 7 to 8 mph.

Because of evolution, dolphins have made good swimming adaptations. We’ll learn how they swim so well considering their size.

How Fast Can a Dolphin Swim?

About 4-6 miles (6-9.5 kilometers) per hour is the efficient speed range for dolphins. Dolphin travels at a fast “cruising speed” of between 8 and 10 miles (13 and 16 kilometers per hour). Long periods of time can be spent moving at that speed.

Dolphins have been seen traveling shorter distances at speeds of up to 16 miles (26 kilometers) per hour, or roughly 1.6 kilometers per mile.

Dolphins could move much more quickly if they are propelled along by a wave behind them or by a boat’s bow wave.

For example, to perform a large jump out of the water, dolphins can travel very short distances at speeds of up to 17 miles per hour (27 kilometers per hour).

Usain Bolt, one of the world’s fastest athletes, can reach a top speed of about 23 miles per hour (35 kilometers per hour) over 200 meters before he must slow down once more. An experienced marathoner may cover the distance at 12 miles per hour (19 kph). The average person walks 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) per hour.

When dolphins want to move more quickly, they begin porpoising or breaching—jumping out of the water.

Though they appear to be showing off when they “porpoise,” dolphins actually jump out of the water to save energy because air has less drag than water.

How Fast is a Dolphin? Things To Know

How Do Dolphins Swim? Why Can They Swim So Fast?

Now we know how fast dolphins can swim, do you know why they can swim so fast? Here are the reasons.


A distinguishing feature of all mammals is their hair. But a dolphin’s body has hardly any hair at all. The dolphin can swim through the water with less resistance because it doesn’t have thick hair.

Dolphins swim more easily because of their smooth skin, which also reduces resistance. There isn’t much hair on a dolphin’s body to obstruct or slow the flow of water around it.


Any external appendages do not hinder dolphins’ movement through the water. In contrast to some mammals, dolphins’ ears do not protrude to the sides. Additionally, a particular point on the face tapers allows the water to part in all directions and flow easily around the dolphin.


Strong muscles can be found throughout dolphin tails. These muscles smoothly raise and lower the entire body. The dolphins can advance as a result of this movement. Dolphins swim differently from fish. To move forward, fish will swivel their bodies from side to side. To be able to swim forward, dolphins bob up and down on their bodies.

A dolphin’s swimming speed is governed by the length of its tail. The quicker a dolphin moves its body and tail, the faster it will glide through the water. Dolphins can change their swimming direction by using their tail fluke.

How Fast is a Dolphin? Things To Know

They have the ability to turn around by using their head as well. They can swim upwards by angling their heads toward the water’s surface; conversely, angling their heads downwards causes them to dive deeper.


Blubber, which contains a lot of fat, is a characteristic of dolphins. Their ability to float is helped by the blubber. Despite their weight, this fat layer helps them float through and above the water more easily.

Since they can float, they can reach the surface earlier before they run out of air. Being mammals, dolphins require oxygen from the atmosphere in order to breathe.


Dolphins have flippers on both sides of their bodies. The dolphin is guided through the water by its flippers. The dolphin does not move through the water with the aid of its fins.

The dolphin can also brake quickly by using its flippers as brakes. Dolphins also have a stabilizing dorsal fin in the middle of their back. They are kept upright by the dorsal fin, preventing unintentional barrel rolling.

When performing a breach, flip, or jump from the water, dolphins use both their flippers and tails simultaneously. When a dolphin approaches the water’s surface, it flicks its tail vigorously to generate enough force for a leap into the air. Additionally, they use the flippers to help them turn and flip to guide themselves.

How Fast is a Dolphin? Things To Know

Why Do Dolphins Swim Upside Down?

Although some species of dolphins do swim upside down, this is not a universal trait. A dolphin species that frequently swim upside down is the Commerson’s dolphin.

Additionally, they rarely swim straight ahead and exhibit erratic swimming behavior. Dolphins from the Commerson’s group can eat while swimming backward.

The dolphins have the advantage of attacking prey from below by swimming in this unusual position, trapping the prey between themselves and the water’s surface.

The Commerson dolphin can swim upside down, which allows it to see its prey clearly.


The incredible speed, backward motion, and upside-down swimming of dolphins make them stand out. Dolphins can swim up to 60 km/h (37 mph) on average. They can escape predators thanks to their quick swimming, and they can feed in a variety of positions.

In order to change their direction more quickly, dolphins have a horizontal tail structure. The robust hard bone in the dolphin’s snout allows it to cut through the water and increase its speed.


What is the Fastest Dolphin?

Because of its streamlined body, a bottlenose dolphin can swim more than 18 miles per hour. Even the fastest swimmers need to breathe air, so they surface two or three times per minute.

Is a Dolphin Faster Than a Shark?

Dolphins are extremely fast, which complements their superior intelligence. They can swim faster than most shark species making them an elusive meal not worth the chase.

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