Along Setúbal’s coastline, we can often observe bottlenose dolphins, considered one of the ex-libris of the region’s fauna.
The area between the Atlantic Coast (Galé and Arrábida) and the Sado river estuary is inhabited by one of the only three communities of resident dolphins in the European maritime space.
Bottlenose dolphins are named as such due to their distinctive rostrum (nose). Groups of these sociable mammals seek the most favourable tide on a daily basis so that they can head towards the estuary area in search of food – mainly cuttlefish, sea bass and mullets – in the estuary and salt marsh areas.
Adult bottlenose dolphins can weigh 350 kilograms and may reach up to 4 metres in length.
They generally have a long and robust body, with a small distinctive nose. The dorsal fin is triangular and not very large, around 35 centimetres in height. The flukes can measure between 65 and 80 centimetres.
It is estimated that they can live for 50 years or more, with females having a longer life span than males.
In 2018 the Interpretive Centre of the Sado Estuary Bottlenose Dolphin (located in the House of the Bay) was created, with the aim to raise and spread awareness about the Sado’s dolphin community.