Risso’s Dolphin

Griseus grampus or ‘big grey fish’.

Another species we see regularly in our waters are the somewhat more elusive Risso’s dolphins, which can be seen in pods of up to 30 dolphins with regular sightings of young calves. Relatively little is known about this species. They are considerably larger than the Common dolphin, growing to a maximum 3.8m in length. Risso’s are thought to mature at thirteen years of age, but we still don’t know how long they live. Adults often appear white in colour and this is due to scarring on their bodies, a result of social interaction with each other and from the sharp beaks of the squid on which they feed. They are much shyer than the Common dolphin and rarely interact with the boat.

Only very occasionally will they bow ride, but we often see them breaching, spy-hopping and putting on amazing aerial displays for what seems to be purely for the joy of it, certainly to the outsider. They tend to prefer deeper offshore waters, where they will feed almost exclusively on squid, and it is largely due to this that so little is known about them.

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