A pelagic species measuring up to 2.5 metres in length, black dorsally, white ventrally, with a dark stripe running from the eye to the anus and from the eye to the pectoral flipper and a white V-shaped blaze running from the eye up towards the dorsal fin and back towards the tail. Has a fairly long ‘beak’.
Striped dolphins have a gestation period of 12 to 13 months, calves are born in the summer and winter, measuring 1.0 metres, and are dependent for up to 18 months. The species is found usually in groups of 100 to 500 individuals and they feed on midwater fish, squid and shrimp.
The striped dolphin is generally more of a southerly distributed species, but is occasionally found in the western English Channel, off south-west England and Ireland and rarely in the Irish Sea and off the coast of Scotland.
As this is a rare UK visitor from warmer waters, strandings are uncommon and usually to the South and West of the UK.
It is particularly notable in this species that the majority of those found live stranded have generally been in poor health, diseased and were not fit to be released.
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.