There’s more to dolphins than the cute, chattering, grey variety you’re so used to seeing.
Dolphins are a remarkably diverse family, and not all of them look like their oh-so-overexposed member: the bottlenose dolphin.

Some dolphins aren’t as bottlenosed as the bottlenose, and some are efficient predators of the sea too. But dolphins have got some distant cousins that you’d want to meet.

Meet the river dolphins.
As you guessed from the name, they’re freshwater-dwelling “dolphins.”

First of all, river dolphins aren’t “true” dolphins. The dolphins you’re familiar with are part of Delphinidae. Those are the true, ocean-going, blowhole-bearing friends we all know and love.

Besides the bottlenose, other members of the family are the Indian hump-backed dolphin, the Northern right whale dolphin, and Commerson’s dolphin.

The family also includes the false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), and the actual killer whale (Orcinus orca). So if you didn’t know already: yes, orcas are dolphins!

River dolphins, like this one, are toothed whales just like real dolphins. But they split off from their ocean-going cousins a long time ago.

The pink river dolphin is Inia geoffrensis. Despite the name, it’s not always pink. The species can also be off-white or pale blue. It’s also known as the Amazon river dolphin.

These dolphins don’t start their lives being pink.
Matter of fact, the young ones are usually dull and greyish.

The more vibrant pigment you see on most adults happens because of abrasions to their skin as they grow up!
Amazon river dolphins are pretty sizable too. They’re the largest species of river dolphin (even though river dolphins aren’t a natural grouping!). They can measure up to 8.4 feet long and tip the scales at 150 kilograms (330 pounds).

But there’s at least one “real” pink dolphin on record. Its name is….Pinky. Creative, I know.
Pinky, unlike the Amazon river dolphin, is a true member of the dolphin family. She’s a bottlenose dolphin (known by the scientific name Tursiops) Her pinkness comes not from skin abrasions, but from a genetic condition.

As a result, Pinky is a bit of a celebrity. Ever since she was first found in 2007, Pinky has become something of a tourist attraction for people in Louisiana.

Naturally, people are told to leave Pinky alone and give her space.

We should all be aware by now how human attention can make many wild animals uncomfortable.

Thankfully, Pinky seems to be doing well. Thanks to her, there’s one more pink bottlenose dolphin in the world.

Yes, Pinky was spotted again in a lake in 2018. There aren’t many pink bottlenose dolphins in the United States, so there was little doubt about who this dolphin was. A calf swam by her side and breached out of the water alongside her mom.

Fortunately, people are becoming more and more conscious of how irreplaceable the natural world is.

New laws and conservation projects have been made in just the past few years.

This is good news for animals like Pinky, and for all of us who appreciate the innate beauty of our world.