Wildlife - Dalls Porpoise


Dalls Porpoise - Phocoenoides dalli

Dall’s porpoises are fairly easy to distinguish from other cetaceans because of their contrasting black and white coloration which is very similar to that of a killer whale. Dall’s porpoises, however, are much smaller than killer whales and also have white on the tops of their dorsal fins. They have a very thick body and small head, grow to 7.5ft in length, and weight between 290-490 pounds.


Dall’s porpoises prefer cold water climates throughout the North Pacific and prefer to dive in waters deeper than 590ft. Usually this means they live in deep offshore waters, but the Strait of Georgia averages a depth of about 500ft and the deepest parts go beyond 1400ft, making it adequate for Dall’s porpoises as well.


Dall’s porpoises are the fastest marine mammal on our coast, reaching speeds of up to 34 mph! They can even outswim their greatest predator, the transient killer whale, who are a little bit slower at 30 mph. They are very active, often zig-zagging just below the surface of the water and creating their famous “rooster tail” spray with their dorsal fins. Of the two species of the porpoises that we have along our coast, the Dall’s porpoise is the most social as well. Sometimes they will choose to interact with the boat by bow riding or surfing in the boat’s wake!