Pink Amazon River Dolphins: Facts for Kids

Amazon basin – green shows the river and the jungle



You may have been lucky to sea dolphins swiming and leaping out of the ocean, but few people have seen river dophins.  In fact, few people proabably seen PINK DOLPHINS.

There are five species of river dolphin, but I’m going to tell you about Pink Dolphins.  They are called by different names – Boto, Boutu, or simply Amazon River dolphins.

River and Ocean Dolphins:

River dophins are only distantly related to sea dolphins.  They belong to different families.  The Amazon River Dolphin lacks a dorsal fin, but rather has a low ridge along the back

The Intelligent Pink Dolphins:

Pink dolphins are the most inteligent of all river dolphins.  Their brain size is 40% larger than humans.  They swim not only in the Amazon River but other rivers in South America like the Orinoco and Madeira Rivers.  They are not just pink, but some are light gray or brown.

Rivers flow through Brazil and into Peru


Pink dolphins inhabit the Amazon River, but they can also be found in the Orinoco basins and the upper Madeira River as well. While they are mostly pink, these dolphins have various colored skins, which can be light gray, pink, or brown.  Some pink dolphins become ‘pinker’ when excited – just like humans who blush! The Amazon pink dolphin is the largest population of river dolphins – the others are close to extinction.

Mining and Mercury

The mining industry uses mercury which seeps into rivers.  Mercury poisons dolphins.  Boats on the Amazon can also kill or injure dolphins with their sharp propellers.  Pink dolphins have pretty good eye sight, but other river dophins are almost blind due to pollution and muddy waters. River dolphins have looks like fingers on the end of their flippers and dorsal fins – sea dolphins do not.

What Do Pink Dolphins Eat?

The long noses or snouts that have sensory hairs on them, allow the Pink dolphins to hunt at the bottom of rivers.  There they eat crabs and turtles.

Otherwise, they are nearer the surface  hunting in packs and rounding up fish.


When a female is between 6-10 years of age, she is ready to become a mother.   After a gestation period of 11 months, she will give birth to one calf.  It will stay with its mother for up to two years.  Females only breed (give brith) once every four or five years.  This spaced out breeding allows the entire Pink doophin population to have more food.