The Hector's dolphin is endemic to New Zealand, which means it can only be found in New Zealand.
Classed as the rarest, most playful, smallest oceanic dolphin of dolphin species, the Hector's dolphin is in need of desperate need of protection.
All dolphins are famous for their willingness to approach humans and interact with them in the water with the Hector's being one of the most playful species.
Females are larger than males.
They are the only dolphin in NZ with a rounded dorsal fin, similar to a Mickey Mouse ear. All other dolphins have a sickle shaped fin. Also, hector's have no snout, unlike other dolphins.
They have a relatively short life span, and only live to a maximum of 19-24 years.
Hector's dolphins are usually found in small groups of 2-12 animals, although they will come together to form pods of up to 100 animals for short periods.
They are quite playful animals and can often be seen playing with seaweed and balancing objects on their noses as they swim along. They have been seen balancing leaves on their noses, as well as litter like bottle tops. They will even play with birds trying to rest on the water, waiting for the bird to settle on the water to rest, and then 'buzzing' them from below.
They can be often seen surfing in the breakers towards the beach in water less than one metre deep, among human swimmers and surfers, particularly when the sea is rough.