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The word ‘Cetacean’ is a collective term given to marine mammals that belong to the order Cetacea. It includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Like other mammals, Cetaceans are warm blooded, breathe air through their lungs and suckle their young. Unlike fish, cetaceans all have a vertical tail.

Cetaceans can be divided into two further groups:  Baleen whales (Mysticeti) and the toothed whales (Odontoceti). Baleen whales filter feed for food through plates of baleen (whalebone) which hang from the roofs of their mouths and have two blowholes whereas toothed whales have teeth to feed and have only one blowhole.

Devon’s most common cetaceans include: harbour porpoise, (the smallest cetacean in Europe), common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and long finned pilot whales. Download Devon Wildlife Trust's marine megafauna guide to learn more about the marine creatures that pass this spectacular coastline.

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