Dolphins and whales are collectively known as cetaceans, from the Greek word 'ketos', translating to sea monster. Cetaceans (like humans) are mammals, meaning that they are warm-blooded, breathe air, give birth to live young and nurse their calves with milk. Currently, there are approximately 86 species worldwide. Here are some of the most commonly seen species around Mauritius.

Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris)
These small dolphins (2.00 m long and 75 kg) live in groups of 25 to 100 individuals. Feeding exclusively on small fish and squid, they go hunting in the open sea at the end of the day and at night. They come close to shore in the early morning to rest and socialize. We can then see them perform spectacular jumps that are their speciality.


Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus)
These dolphins can reach 2.50 m in adulthood, and weigh up to 200 kg. Near the coast, they live in very small groups of a few individuals. In a curious and not so shy nature, they often come visiting boaters.

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

The sperm whale is certainly the most amazing predator of our planet. Weighing up to 50 tonnes and with a length ranging from 10 to 18 meters, the sperm whale is a giant among toothed whales. Once persecuted until being virtually exterminated, the sperm whale is now coming back from the edge.

It is easy to recognize the blow of sperm whale as it goes off at an angle of approximately 45 ° to the left. The blow can be up to 5 meters high and is an explosion that can be heard within a 1 km radius.

The sperm whale is however included on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable. This cetacean is found in all temperate and tropical oceans.

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

The humpback whale is one of the most impressive marine mammals. With a length of 12-16 meters and a weight between 25 and 33 tonnes, this baleen whale, also called humpback, is a true end-to-train oceans. Very expressive, the humpback whale multiplies melodious songs in the deep as well as the jumps out of the water.
Close to extinction in the early 20th century, the humpback whale is now the most studied and best known cetacean.