Dolphins and humans can both choose to ask each other to partner together. These partnerships can be refused. Current partnerships can also be abolished if some sort of conflict occurs. Dolphins are not pets, nor are they connected to humans in the way firelizards and dragons are. They are free to come and go as they wish so please keep this in mind. If your character for some reason decides to abuse their dolphin or vice versa, the partnership will likely be terminated.


The dolphins of Pern are mammals and have the scientific name of Tursiops truncatus. They have a beaklike snout and sharp conical teeth. Most grow to about 2 m (6 ft) in length, the males averaging 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) longer than females. They may reach a maximum length of about 3,5 m (10,5 ft) and 200 kg (440 lb) in weight.They can only survive in salt-water.
The general form of dolphins is a classic example of streamlining. The body is sleek and smooth, the hairless skin is rubbery to the touch. The jaws protrude into a beaklike snout. Above the upper jaw is a large mass of fat and oil-containing tissue forming the so-called "melon" that looks much like a bulging forehead. This is a favourite placed to be scritched with the dolphins.


Dolphins are predators and feed on live food, but will accept gifts of dead fish and such. The primary food is fish, mostly open water types, but occasionally, shrimp and other crustacea are consumed. Food consumption is estimated at about 30 kg (66 lb) a day for an average sized dolphin.

Physical Attritbutes/Abilities

Because dolphins are mammals, they must breathe air and maintain a high body temperature. The maintenance of internal temperature, which has been measured at 36.5 deg to 37.2 deg C (97.9 deg to 99 deg F), is aided by a thick layer of dense fat under the skin. Air is breathed through a specialized single nostril, or blowhole, situated almost directly on top of the head. The dolphin normally comes to the surface to breathe about every two minutes, and each breath consists of a short, almost explosive exhalation, followed by a slightly longer inhalation. Dolphins can hold their breath for up to several minutes and are capable of rapid and deep dives of more than 300 m (1,000 ft). The respiratory system is specially modified to avoid the bends.


Dolphin's flippers are used primarily as stabilizers but sometimes in an oarlike fashion. The primary thrust comes from vertical oscillations of the tail. Most of them are capable of sustained swimming speeds of up to 30 km/h (18.6 mph). In shorter bursts they can attain a speed of 37 to 40 km/h (23 to 25 mph). Another great past-time for the dolphins is swimming in the bow wave of a moving vessel. The animals seem to rest motionless but actually ride the bow wave by using the trust of the ship.


Copulation normally occurs during the spring months, with the male-female pair exhibiting courtship for some time prior to copulation. Gestation is between 11 and 12 months, after which a single calf is produced. Delivery is normally tail first, and the newborn is capable of swimming and breathing within the first minutes. After birth, the calf follows its mother closely, and suckling takes place frequently, with the mother rolling slightly and the calf nuzzling the mammary area. Nursing may continue for as long as 14 to 20 months after birth. Mothers name their children, similar to humans.