Dolphins are found all over the world, in waters which are warm and cold, shallow and deep and freshwater and saltwater. As a species, they can be found thriving in one of the most varied range of habitats of any mammal in the world. Each species tends to demonstrate a preference in terms of the type of habitat it prefers, but even then they are willing to travel long distances and to move locations regularly to find the best sources of food.
Generally speaking, dolphins live in shallow waters. They cannot breathe underwater and therefore always need to be able to reach the surface for air. They have fantastic eyesight to help them catch prey and therefore prefer to live in waters which are clear and clean. Most dolphins live by the coast but there are some species, such as Spinner dolphins, which are predominately found in the middle of the ocean.
Bottlenose dolphins, the most commonly sighted species of dolphin in the world, tend to be found in warmer waters. They can be found in all of the oceans of the world except the Arctic and Southern oceans. They are also found in shallower waters near the coast of the United States and in the Mediterranean Sea.
Killer whales are another dolphin species found all over the world. They can be seen far out to sea but are usually sighted at higher latitudes and in coastal waters. They are one of the very few species of dolphin which can be spotted living in the Arctic and Southern oceans.
Pink river dolphins are only found in the Amazon basin and are one of the most localized species of dolphin in the world. They tend to live in parts of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers with extensive floodplains. When the high water season is over, pink river dolphins move into the main river or to freshwater lakes, taking advantage of the fact that many other aquatic species have been forced to do the same thing and therefore increasing the food available to them.
As coastal areas become more polluted, dolphins have begun to move further away in order to find sources of food. Areas close to harbors or marinas will now see far fewer numbers of dolphins as they cannot thrive in contaminated waters. Dolphins are intelligent animals and will follow their prey to ensure that they always have enough to eat. If their prey can no longer survive in coastal waters, then they will not be able to live their either.