Remember the 1963 movie about a dolphin named Flipper? This post is all about the bottlenose dolphin, a species of dolphin whose behavior and spirit it just like the famous dolphin from the movie.
In the movie, Flipper becomes friends with a young boy. As his friend, Flipper would go on to find fish for the boy’s father while protecting his human friend from sharks.
As a result of how the movie directors portrayed Flipper, new lovers of the dolphin community emerged. However, what you don’t know are the dolphins that portrayed Flipper. That’s right; multiple dolphins were used to play the role of Flipper.
So, you’re asking how multiple dolphins could play the role of one dolphin and still be spot on — well, ever heard of the Bottlenose Dolphin? This species of dolphin behaves just like Flipper.
An Overview of the Bottlenose Dolphin
Firstly, let’s look at the description of these sea mammals. The bottlenose dolphins belong to the family of Delphinidae. These dolphins are found in warm and temperate seas across the globe. However, as expected, they do not swim in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
Moreover, this dark-gray, slender-snouted sea mammal can grow up to 13 feet long. Moreover, this dolphin can weigh from 300 pounds to as much as 1400 pounds. One unique trait of bottlenose dolphins is their lifespan – one of these dolphins can live for as long as 50 years.
Although both male and female species live considerably long, the females are blessed with up to 10 years longer lifespan than their male counterparts. Just like Flipper, these dolphins have an incredible leap. They can jump as high as 20 feet in the air.
Also, these dolphins come in various sizes. At the same time, they come in different colors. They could be bluish-grey, brownish-grey, or close to black. You could even spot a few old dolphins with spots on them. These bottlenose dolphins come in a variety of colors because of their countershading abilities. This ability allows them to camouflage with their environment. It’s a useful ability for escaping predators or sneaking up on prey.
So, what else do you need to know about the bottlenose dolphin? In other words, how does this family of dolphins behave like Flipper in the movie from the 1960s?
Behavior and Communication
In this section, we discuss the behaviors of bottlenose dolphins, especially those which Flipper displayed. Firstly, these dolphins are very healthy eaters. In other words, bottlenose dolphins eat a lot, they eat as much as 5% of their total body weight daily. So, if you’ve got a 1000-pound dolphin in your stead, you should expect it to consume up to 50 pounds of meal per day.
Secondly, bottlenose dolphins are quite playful pods. For instance, you can catch these dolphins throwing seaweeds at each other for fun. Additionally, bottlenose dolphins also use objects to invite other dolphins. This invitation is usually for the sake of playing or practicing hunting. Speaking of which, bottlenose dolphins love to hunt in groups. In the same vein, the bottlenose dolphins will encircle their prey, usually a school of fish. Then, they herd these fishes towards a tight ball. After this encirclement, the dolphins take turns charging at the fish to feed on them.
Because of their mode of hunting and eating, you can’t catch these dolphins diving deep for food. Instead, bottlenose dolphins dive a little under 150 feet below the water’s surface. However, this is not to say these dolphins couldn’t dive deeper than Flipper did. Under certain conditions and proper training, these dolphins can dive as deep as 1700 feet.
To communicate the bottlenose dolphins use sounds such as whistles, and they also use body language. For instance, leaping out of the water, jaw snapping, tail slapping, and head butting are the different types of body language used to communicate between these dolphins.
Just How Intelligent Is the Bottlenose Dolphin?
In this section, we look at just how big a brain the bottlenose dolphin has. It provides another way to understand how this dolphin behaves like Flipper. Firstly, an accurate indication of the dolphin’s intelligence is their hunting technique.
Instead of hunting solo, bottlenose dolphins hunt in groups. In the end, large amounts of prey and food are easier to attain. Secondly, dolphins can locate food by utilizing their senses. In other words, they produce sonar sounds, and from the echoes, they can pinpoint the location of food.
In the end, bottlenose dolphins are genuinely blessed with senses and skills that make you think of the dolphin from Flipper. For example, these dolphins can tell the shape, size, distance, speed, and location of any object within its echolocation. Another proof of how wonderful mother nature can really be.
Bottlenose Dolphins and Humans
Finally, we’ll talk about how these Flipper-like creatures interact with another mammal species – humans. Overall, the interaction between a bottlenose dolphin and humans is inquisitive. As a result, you’ll often find dolphins throwing a curious look at humans.
On the other hand, there are cases where dolphins have rescued humans. Often, these dolphins would pull injured divers to the surface to save their lives. In the end, bottlenose dolphins have shown through behavior and interaction that this is a dolphin that truly embodies the spirit and personality of Flipper.
Thank you for reading this article! Maybe this has put you in the mood to experience these playful creatures up close? Take a look at our post on the Best Places to Swim with Dolphins.
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