Rough-Toothed Dolphin: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Discover exciting Rough-toothed dolphins facts about their appearance, habitat, and more!

The Rough-Toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) have a distinct name that originates from their distinguishable characteristic, their 19-28 teeth with slender ridges situated in their upper as well as their lower jaws. It is the sole member of the genus Steno. The name Steno originates from the Greek word for 'narrow' because of the snout of this animal. These magnificent sea mammals belong to the class Mammalia. They are mainly light-gray colored with their large dorsal fin as well as the back being a deep-gray color. Adult dolphins of this species have pink, white, or yellow marks on their underside as well as their mouth sometimes. These brave dolphins often get into quarrels with sharks. Their diet mainly consists of silverside, needlefish, mahimahi, squid, and saury. They are widespread and abundant in numbers. Rough-toothed dolphins have a Least Concern conservation status as per the IUCN. Like what you read? We suggest you keep reading to discover more about these adorable dolphins like their behavior, habitat, appearance, and more!

If you love reading about the Rough-toothed dolphins, we suggest you read our animal facts about the false killer whale and Amazon river dolphin!

Rough-Toothed Dolphin

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Silverside, needlefish, mahimahi, squid, and saury

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1 calf

How much do they weigh?

198-341 lb (90-155 kg)

How long are they?

6.5-9.1 ft (2-2.8 m)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Blue, pale pink, gray, and white

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What are their main threats?

Hunting and habitat destruction

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Shallow and deep temperate waters


Oceania, North America, Asia, South, and Central America, Europe, North Africa, West Africa, Caribbean Islands, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaiian Islands, the Mediterranean Sea, the Windward Islands, Sri Lanka





Scientific Name

Steno bredanensis





Rough-Toothed Dolphin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Rough-Toothed Dolphin?

The Rough-Toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) is a large aquatic mammal that is a member of the Delphinidae family and belongs to the genus Steno of which it is the only member. It is a diurnal species that are carnivorous in nature. This species is abundant across the world but the major threats that this marine mammal faces are getting stuck in fishing gear or being hunted for meat.

What class of animal does a Rough-Toothed Dolphin belong to?

The Rough-Toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) belongs to the class Mammalia. Their diet mainly comprises silverside, needlefish, mahimahi, squid, and saury.

How many Rough-Toothed Dolphins are there in the world?

The Rough-Toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) are abundant in the world and there are an estimated 150,000 dolphins of this species. The US scientists roughly calculate that there are approximately 6000 dolphins in Hawaii, 300 in the North Atlantic, and 600 in the Gulf of Mexico. This suggests that there are 6900 dolphins in the United States' oceans.

Where does a Rough-Toothed Dolphin live?

Rough-Toothed dolphins inhabit areas of West Africa, Oceania, America, Europe, the Caribbean, South Asia, Central America, East Asia, and Western Asia namely the  Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, the Mediterranean Sea, the Sicily Channel, Tahiti, Moorea, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Sri Lanka. Rough-toothed dolphins are never spotted,(rarely seen ever), in the north of 40 degrees latitude as well as south of 35 degrees latitude.

What is a Rough-Toothed Dolphin's habitat?

The Rough-Toothed dolphin lives in warm temperate ocean waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean. These animals usually swim with their body just underneath the surface of the water which makes it easier to spot them. Rough-Toothed dolphins can often be observed in groups of dolphins called pods.

Who do Rough-Toothed Dolphins live with?

The Rough-Toothed dolphin can be observed easily in pods (group) consisting of 10-30 dolphins. The pod can also comprise 160 dolphins. These rough-toothed dolphins are known to even swim with spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Spinner dolphins as well as pilot whales.

How long does a Rough-Toothed Dolphin live?

This marine mammal has a long life span of 12-48 years.

How do they reproduce?

The male Rough-toothed dolphins reach sexual maturity earlier than the females between the age range of 5-10 years having an average length between 6.9-7.1 ft (212-217 cm), whereas the females take 9-10 years to reach sexual maturity having an average length of 7 ft (216cm). They give birth every one to four years. Little is known about the reproduction process of the Rough-Toothed dolphins. Rough-toothed dolphin gives birth to one calf for whom, the gestation period is approximately 100 days. The mother provides her calf with her own milk which helps in gaining weight. The calf reaches independence at the age of two months.

What is their conservation status?

The Rough-Toothed dolphins are widespread and abundant in their geographical distribution. Their conservation status as per the IUCN is Least Concern. The primary threats to this species include habitat degradation caused by human activities and that they are most likely bycatch in fishing nets and fishing gear. Several nations, including Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea kill it for its flesh.

Rough-Toothed Dolphin Fun Facts

What do Rough-Toothed Dolphins look like?

The Rough-Toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) are mainly light gray with their back and dorsal fin being a deep gray color. Around the mouth and along the underparts, older dolphins of this species have noticeable pinkish, yellow, or white marks. The Rough-Toothed dolphin skull is conical along with a narrow nose. The teeth are particularly unique, with a rough surface formed by multiple slender irregular ridges. Each quarter of the jaw of this species has approximately 19-28 teeth. In comparison to other dolphins of the same species, the flippers are positioned back further along the body. The dorsal fin is large, ranging in height from 7.1-11.0 in (18-28 cm).

The Rough-toothed dolphins have cone-shaped heads with long noses!

How cute are they?

It is quite a cute dolphin. Rough-toothed dolphins have cute flippers and their diving in and out of water movement is especially fun to watch.

How do they communicate?

Echolocation sharp sounds, whistles, synchronized swimming patterns, and burst pulse signals, are all used by these species of dolphins to communicate with one another.

How big is a Rough-Toothed Dolphin?

This species, Rough-toothed dolphins, have a length ranging between 6.5-9.1 ft (2-2.8 m). They can grow as long as 9.1 ft (2.8 m)!

How fast can a Rough-Toothed Dolphin move?

This species, Rough Toothed dolphins, have a top speed of 14.9 mph (24 kmph), making them slower than other species of dolphins. This dolphin species swims with its body close to the surface of the water. These marine mammals are highly gregarious and intermix with the bottlenose dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, Fraser’s dolphins, spinner dolphins, and short-finned pilot whales to swim in groups.

How much does a Rough-Toothed Dolphin weigh?

The Rough-Toothed dolphins weigh in the range of 198-341 lb (90-155 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male Rough-toothed dolphins are called bull whereas the female Rough-Toothed dolphins are called cow.

What would you call a baby Rough-Toothed Dolphin?

A baby of the Rough-Toothed dolphin species is referred to as a calf.

What do they eat?

These dolphins inhabit warm ocean waters like the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean as fish are abundant in these waters. Their diet mainly comprises silverside, needlefish, mahimahi, squid, and saury. Their major predators include sharks and killer whales.

Are they poisonous?

No, these marine animals aren't poisonous at all. They pose no significant threat to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

There are no known instances of these marine animals being kept as pets. However, in captivity, these dolphins adapt their behavior quite well. They are wild animals, and they are better off in the sea.

Did you know...

When a dolphin of their species has suffered an injury, a fellow dolphin of this species will help it inhale air by supporting it at the surface of the water.

Are Rough-Toothed Dolphins endangered?

No, these dolphins are not endangered yet.

Rough-Toothed Dolphin vs Bottlenose Dolphin

The Rough-toothed dolphins have a narrow upper jaw as compared to the bottlenose dolphins. The bottlenose dolphins have a flat and wide jaw. The Rough-Toothed dolphins have a long ridge at the underside of the socket of the eye which isn't present in that of the bottlenose dolphin.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our blue whale facts and vaquita fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable rough toothed dolphin coloring pages.



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