The Strange Reason why Dolphins Drink Urine

Some researchers tested a group of dolphins and found that these animals drink urine for a specific reason. Are you interested in knowing what it is? Read the following article.
The Strange Reason why Dolphins Drink Urine

Last update: 22 December, 2022

The animal world is full of curiosities and behavior worthy of being studied and understood. Today, we’re going to surprise you with what some researchers recently discovered. Read the complete article and learn the strange reason why dolphins drink urine.

If you’re interested in learning a little more about the behavior of these friendly aquatic animals that stand out for their intelligence and their way of communicating, don’t miss this article! You’ll learn about the reason for this unconventional behavior that sets a precedent for social recognition among animals.


Dolphins are both ocean-dwelling mammals (Delphinidae) and river-dwelling mammals (Platanistoidea) from all over the world. These animals are among the over 90 species of cetaceans that exist and also belong to the suborder of odontocetes. They’re characterized by having a nostril on the top of their head, which is used to take in air when they come to the surface.

They’re also known for emitting a series of whistles that allow them to communicate, locate their prey, and locate each other in the water. In general, these animals have two pectoral fins, a dorsal fin, and a caudal fin; they have a very thick layer of fat to minimize heat loss, and teeth to hold their prey.

A dolphin.

The behavior of dolphins

Dolphin behavior makes them stand out from many other species. On the one hand, they’re considered one of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom, and, on the other hand, different investigations have shown that they have behavior that’s very similar to a human’s. These mammals are quite social animals, cooperate with other species, and can hunt in groups.

In addition, they have a maternal instinct, love to play, and are capable of transmitting knowledge to their offspring. However, one of the most striking aspects of these aquatic animals is their peculiar way of emitting sounds to communicate. Dolphin whistles allow them to differentiate themselves from one another. In other words, they have a “name” or identification.

Why do dolphins drink urine?

But it seems that these friendly animals could also recognize one another through a trait that has nothing to do with the sounds they emit. The study entitled “Transmodal perception of identity by sound and taste in bottlenose dolphins”, which was published in the journal Science Advances, uncovered a strange method of social recognition among dolphins: drinking urine.

Using the multimodal technique, the researchers wanted to test whether an animal can recognize an object, or another animal, through signals received from different senses. They used a group of eight bottlenose dolphins to test their ability to use gustatory stimuli.

The study showed that these mammals can distinguish between water and urine samples, as well as between urine from familiar and unfamiliar individuals.

So why do dolphins drink urine? Well, these animals swim with their mouths open in the urine trails of other individuals of their species to seek social information. They’re able to recognize when taste and sound come from the same individual, as well as carrying out recognition by taste alone, making them the first vertebrates to carry out this type of recognition.

Other dolphin curiosities

Dolphins drink urine.

However, this isn’t the only surprising discovery regarding these playful and intelligent animals. In case you didn’t know, dolphins have a healing power through dolphin therapy, which works in a similar way to ultrasound, thanks to the waves they emit from the water.

Similarly, it should be noted that these aquatic vertebrates sleep with half their brain awake. In addition, they’re isodont animals, which means that all their teeth are the same; and their skin is constantly renewed to help them move fast in the water. Likewise, even though they lack the sense of smell, their hearing is so well developed that they’re able to hear up to 150 kHz.

In conclusion, dolphins demonstrate that the animal kingdom is an incredible world that has yet to be discovered. These intelligent mammals, which have a particular way of social recognition, make it clear to us, once again, that their capabilities are extraordinary.

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