Dall's Porpoise, courtesy of Chad King
15 - 20 years
55 pounds (25 kg)
3.3 feet (1 m)
ADULT FEMALE FACTS
271 pounds (123 kg)
7 feet (2.1 m)
ADULT MALE FACTS
271 pounds (123 kg)
8 feet (2.4 m)
Dall’s porpoises have small, robust bodies and triangular heads. In addition to a small dorsal fin, they have another small hump located just in front of their tail flukes. This hump is more pronounced in males.
Dall’s porpoises resemble orcas because of their black bodies and white underbellies, but are much smaller. They can be very energetic and acrobatic, often bow riding with vessels.
HOW TO SPOT
Dall’s porpoises travel in small groups of 7 to 10 individuals. Look for the whitish tip of their dorsal fins.
WHEN AND WHERE TO SEE
Dall’s porpoise are found along the Pacific Coast and throughout the Salish Sea. They are non-migratory, and can be seen year round. In places where harbor porpoise are abundant, Dall’s porpoises are not.
Dall’s porpoises eat a variety of prey items including squid, sardines and herring, and even lantern fish. They do most of their feeding at night.
They are sexually mature at 3.5 to 8 years of age and have a gestation period of about 10 to 12 months. Calves typically nurse for less than a year.
SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND BEHAVIOR
Dall’s porpoises travel in groups which vary greatly in size, sometimes ranging to thousands of animals. They will also sometimes travel with Pacific white-sided dolphins and pilot whales. These groups structures are not formal and many individuals are only loosely associated with one another.
CURRENT AND HISTORICAL THREATS
Dall’s porpoises are presumed numerous in North America despite a lack of reliable population estimates. This is not the case in Japan however. Huge numbers of Dall’s porpoises, an estimated 18,000 per year, are lost in gillnet fisheries and to Japanese coastal whaling operations. Other threats include pollutants which make their way into the blubber layer of these animals and prove toxic.