light pink dolphin
Dolphins Blush

Why Do Dolphins Bellies Turn Pink? Do Emotions Run High Like Humans, Causing Blushing?

Dolphins’ belly turns pink because they expel excessive heat through this region. The process is called vasodilation, in which the blood vessels will be widened to remove the heat, thus showing off a pinkish colour. It happens mainly in the summer months when the water temperature is high. However, it can also occur when a dolphin blushes. Like us humans, they also have this emotion that turns the belly pink. 

Vasodilation Meaning

Vasodilation is when blood vessels get wider. Vasodilation happens when the walls of the blood vessel muscles relax. It can make blood flow easier to get to the areas that need more oxygen or nutrients or help get rid of heat from your body.


Most of the time, the underbelly of a dolphin can look anywhere from primarily grey to wheatish, with several pink spots. But, in some cases, you can see the underside portion of the dolphins go pink even when they are not trying to expel heat. Pink bellies can also mean that the dolphins are excited and happy about something. Like humans, dolphins also blush when they become very enthusiastic about something.


The unique pattern of colours on the dolphins is known as countershading. This specific colouration helps the dolphins hide underwater from above and views from below.

Cuntershading can help dolphins avoid a predator and help them attack their prey in a much more concealed manner. 

The top portion of the bodies of most dolphin species is a darker shade, while the lower parts are pale. 

This unique colouring helps the dolphins to get intermixed with the lightness of the sky to the animals that look at them from below. 

The darker upper body confuses the animals looking from a higher perspective, and they cannot differentiate between the dolphin and the blue-coloured underwater scenery.

This unique colouration helps keep the dolphins inconspicuous of their prey and predators.

Countershading is not something that only dolphins but fish and birds also have countershading as a camouflaging trick. 

Are pink dolphins real?

Yes, entire pink-coloured dolphins do exist. These dolphins are known as Amazon pink river dolphins, and they live in the area and region of the Amazon. Also known as boto, pink dolphins are magnificent and rare creatures.

Amazon Pink River Dolphin Facts

  • Amazon pink river dolphins are not born pink they are born grey, and their bodies become pink as they age.
  • The male Amazon pink river dolphins seem to grow to be a darker shade of pink than the females. 
  • A male Amazon pink river dolphin is considered more desirable the pinker they are. 
  • Amazon pink river dolphins like to keep to themselves. You rarely see them, so they are scarce to spot.
  • Amazon pink river dolphins only form small pods and rarely gather more than five members in pods.

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She is also a avid binge watcher of wild animal documentary's. Teresa has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. She has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.