Riding with the Dolphins: The Equinox Guide to Dolphins and Porpoises


64 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-921820-57-7
DDC j599.5'3





Illustrations by Pieter Folkens
Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is associate director of programs at the Canadian Museum
of Nature in Ottawa.


Dolphins and porpoises, among the most popular of animals, are
attractively presented for juvenile readers by an author already well
known for his Orca: The Whale Called Killer by the same publisher.
General discussion of their biology accompanies brief accounts of many
species, a litany that is perhaps unavoidable. Among the interesting
material is that on diving abilities and diet, home ranges and habitats,
variation in size (the killer whale is in fact the largest dolphin), and
the amorous reputation of the South American boto. There is a good
review of social and reproductive behavior and population structure.
Some topics, such as the reason for the variation in features of
coloration and morphology, are not pursued, and ornithologists will
raise their eyebrows at the claim that orca is the only nonhuman species
with dialects. Against fuzzy-feely publications such as McIntyre’s
Mind in the Waters, the well-balanced consideration of dolphins in terms
of intelligence and relation to humans is commendable. Aspects of
conservation including destruction of crucial habitats and mortality
from fishing gear are appropriately used as a background against which
Hoyt challenges the reader to consider ethical issues. The excellent
illustrations include a spectacular photograph of a killer whale
snapping up a seal driven onto the beach. This book is a fine
introduction to these animals.


Hoyt, Erich., “Riding with the Dolphins: The Equinox Guide to Dolphins and Porpoises,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/24747.