Indus River Dolphin: The Facts

All you need to know about the Indus River Dolphin

Indus river dolphin. / ©: WWF-Canon
Indus river dolphin.
© WWF-Canon
Other names: Bhulan, Susu, Blind River Dolphin, Indus Susu

About: Indus dolphins are mammals, not fish. They come up to the surface for air, and as humans do, they give birth to live young, which feed on their mothers' milk. The Indus River dolphin is one of four river dolphin species and subspecies in the world that spend all their lives in freshwater.

Habitat: Found in silt laden turbid water, the Indus River dolphin once inhabited nearly the entire lower Indus River system. Currently, however, it is confined to the range highlighted on the map.

Weight: The Indus River dolphin weighs 70-110 kg (155 - 245 lbs).

Length: The maximum size is 2.5m (8.2 ft), with males smaller than females.

Colour: Mid gray-brown.

Eyes: The dolphin is functionally blind and has no lens in its tiny eye.

Teeth: Adults have between 30 and 36 sharp teeth on each side of the rostrum. The teeth are very long, protruding at the end of the rostrum.

Rostrum: River dolphins possess a much longer snout (rostrum) than most oceanic dolphins, up to one fifth of their body length.

Breathe: Dolphins breathe through a blowhole located on the top of their heads.

Neck: The neck is narrow and relatively flexible, easing its movements in the complicated river environment.

Flippers: The dolphin has very broad flippers to help it stabilise at slow swimming speed.

Reproduction: The gestation period for the dolphins is approximately 10 months and it is believed that the babies are born in spring. When a baby is born it is about 70 cm long (almost the length of a domestic cat and the mother helps it to the surface to breathe. Babies stay close to their mother for the first six months of their life.

Life span: Scientists think that these dolphins can live for approximately 20 years.

Diet: The Indus River dolphin eats crustaceans such as prawns, as well as fish such as gobies, catfish and carp.

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