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The River Dolphins of Ganga

Dolphins of river Ganga are freshwater dolphins which are otherwise called Platanista gangetica. It is now endangered species with only about 1800 individuals left. The decline in population is caused by pollution, dams in the rivercourse and fishing activities. It is named the National Aquatic Animal by Government of India. It is also the city animal of Indian city of Guwahati.


Sonar and Sight

River Dolphins of Ganga lack an eye lens and are practically blind. They rely on their sonar organs to locate things and preys. Scientists believe that the muddy waters and pollution of Ganga has caused the dolphins to lose sight over many years.

Dolphin Body Structure

Some basic characteristics of Ganges dolphins structure are long but thin snout, round belly and large flippers. Although it lacks a eye lens, it could still locate light.


Being a mammel, it has no mechanism to breathe underwater. The dolphin has to come to surface every 30 to 120 seconds. It produces a peculiar whistling sound while breathing, which is why locals call it Susu.

Dolphin's Diet

River Dolphin of Ganga has a variety of aquatic diet. It feeds on prawns, clams, catfish,carps and other small fishes. It has no teeth and so it swallows the prey whole.

Dolphin Habitat

These dolphins are found in the waters of river Ganga. Some subspecies are also found in the river systems of Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. A few individuals have been found in Brahmaputra river as well.

Size Comparision

Adult Ganga Dolphins are more than 2 meters long, where females are larger than males ranging about 2.67 m and males go up to 2.12 m. Normally these dolphins are as large as a average sized human. Some are found to be longer.

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