A pelagic species measuring up to 3.8 metres in length, dark grey dorsally and on sides, lightening with age to light grey, particularly on head, pale grey/white belly; multiple scratches and scars and has no ‘beak’.
Risso’s dolphins have a gestation period of 13 to 14 months. Calves are born in the summer, measuring 1.2 to 1.5 metres. The species is found generally in small groups of a few dozen animals, although occasionally herds of up to several thousand are seen. They feed primarily on squid (and octopus).
This species is seen off the north and west coasts of Scotland, west coast of Ireland, Irish Sea and south-west England. It is seen rarely in the North Sea.
It appears to be unusual for this species to live strand when comparing the number of incidents with their relatively common status around the country. There are slightly more cases around Scotland than in the rest of the country.
A whale, dolphin or porpoise stranded on the beach is obviously not a usual phenomenon. These animals do not beach themselves under normal circumstances, and they will require assistance. Please DO NOT return them to the sea as they may need treatment and or a period of recovery before they are fit enough to swim strongly.
BDMLR RESCUE HOTLINE:
01825 765546 (24hr)
RSPCA hotline (England & Wales): 0300 1234 999
SSPCA hotline (Scotland): 03000 999 999
You will receive further advice over the phone, but important things you can do to help are:
If you find a dead cetacean
The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) collects a wide range of data on each stranding found on UK shores. If you discover a dead animal, please contact the CSIP hotline and give a description of the following where possible:
Digital images are extremely helpful to identify to species, as well as ascertaining whether the body may be suitable for post-mortem examination.
CSIP has produced a useful leaflet that can be downloaded by clicking here.
CSIP hotline: 0800 6520333. Callers are given a number of options to ensure they reach the correct department. You can also use this number to contact BDMLR as there is an option for live animal strandings that transfers directly to us.