The harbour porpoise is the smallest species of cetacean found in Scottish waters, being less than two metres long. It weighs about 45 kilos and is usually seen in small groups or schools. A porpoise breathes between 4 and 5 times every minute. As it surfaces to do breathes you may hear the breath as the first part of the back is seen at the surface, followed by the dorsal fin and then the last part of the back. It gives the visual impression that it is twisting. There is no protruding nose ‘beak’ and the teeth are small and squared off. You may see grey seals feeding in the vicinity of harbour porpoises which eat fish and squid.
The Scottish bottlenose dolphins are considerably larger than their cousins living in the warmer waters off Florida, USA. These dolphins can be between 3 and 4 metres in length and are normally to be seen in pods (groups) of up to ten animals. Pods can fo...