Rough-Toothed Dolphins in Hawaii

Personalized, unhurried excursions with knowledgeable crew, and limited passenger counts make our dolphin encounters unique. (See our 3 hr Best of the West  or even better our all-day 6 hour trips.)

rough-toothed dolphins hawaii

Scientific Name: Steno bredanensis

We find rough-toothed dolphins to be the ‘oddest’ and most loved of all the dolphins we encounter.

  • May be submerged as long as 15 minutes, that’s a long time for their size. Fast swimmer- sometimes porpoising with low, arc-shaped leaps. Sometimes bow rides – especially in front of fast-moving vessels.But while we see them actually mating with about any other dolphin out there, they are not consistenlty ” friendly” to the boat.
  • Read somewhere that they eviscerate (behead and gut) their prey, can anyone else confirm this?
  • May associate (you can say that again!) with Bottlenose Dolphins and pilot whales- less frequently with spinner dolphins and spotted dolphins – occasionally with shoals of yellowfish tuna. The dolphin with the humpback whale in the large picture at the top of our website is a rough-toothed dolphn, note the concave rostrum.
  • Rough-toothed calves can stay with their mothers for as long as 10 years.
  • May be seen logging in pods of 10-20 – sometimes in groups of several hundred.

Rough-toothed dolphins are smaller members of the dolphin group, reaching lengths of 8.5 feet. They sometimes express interest by approaching boats, and examining hydrophones and slow moving propellers visually and with echolocation.

They have a small concave head with a long beak and no crease at the melon. Their dorsal fin is relatively large and tall and is located at the mid-back and they have relatively long flippers. Big dorasl fin and the largest pec fin to body ration of all dolphins! Body color is dark with white lips and throat and a dark dorsal cape that is narrow between the blowhole and dorsal fin. The belly has irregular spots and blotches, that continue on up their sides. The scars on the dolphin to the right are from being bitten by the cookie-cutter shark.

Maturity occurs at 11 years of age and they live up tp 32 years. The Steno feed on fish and squid as well as mollusks and cephalopods. Rough-toothed dolphins usually occur in tight-knit groups of 3 to 7, though on the leeward coast of Oahu, we usually see them in large pods of 40 -100.

Pollutants have been detected in blubber analysis of rough-toothed dolphins in Hawaii. They are harpooned for food in Japan and West Africa.

Our wildlife tours focus on education and conservation so that an interactive relationship can be maintained in the best interest of both humans and rought-toothed dolphindolphins. We strive to foster admiration and deep respect for these wonder-ful mammals.

rough toothed dolphin all day charter oahu near ko olinaDive Deep into Rough-toothed Dolphin Territory on Our All-Day Charters

Rough-toothed dolphins, known for their unique textured teeth and sociable nature, are often best encountered on our all-day charters due to their preference for deeper offshore waters. These dolphins thrive in the vast, open ocean environments, which are more accessible during longer excursions that venture further from the coast. Our all-day trips departing near Ko Olina allow us to reach these remote habitats where rough-toothed dolphins are commonly found, increasing the likelihood of sightings. Additionally, the extended duration of these charters provides ample time to observe the complex behaviors and interactions within these dolphin pods, offering a deeper understanding and a more fulfilling experience of these intriguing marine mammal