Nature Niche: Face to Face with Dolphins

Scarlet Colley

Scarlet Colley

A dolphin face is a face we all love. But out on the Laguna Madre Bay, a dolphin face is not seen as often as the dorsal fin of the dolphin.

My favorite request to our dolphins out there is to show me their face, and sometimes they oblige.

What a beautiful face, indeed.

How handy to have your nose on top of your head when you live in the water and have to come up to breath. We have to wear a snorkel so we can keep our faces in the water. Their mouths are long to slice through their water world and most adept to snapping up fish. Their sharp, round, pointy teeth snag a fish and hold it tight. They are born with their teeth down in their gums like we are so they can nurse their mother’s rich milk, and you can see the little dots on the sides of their mouth where tiny hairs once helped them find the milk.

Dolphins, however, only get one set of teeth in their lifetime, and I can remember one very old grandmother I found who had passed on. Her teeth were wore down to her gums. She had obviously been fed by the other dolphins in her family to have survived so long with no teeth. She must have been an amazing part of her family.

Nature Niche picI have come to know the grandmas of this tribe here, and I have a few photos of their mouths open catching fish. You can see that their teeth are wearing down. This youngster in my photo has one tooth that is bent a little. His teeth are still growing. Dolphins are always grabbing each other with their mouths and you can see rake marks on their skin from those sharp teeth. But, being armless, it is their way to touch and grab each other.

I see our dolphins looking at the people on my boat holding their child, and I wonder if that isn’t one thing they miss about their babies: to be able to hold them. But they make up for it with body contact, always rubbing against each other closely. And they must think we look pretty funny with our noses on the front of our face, or perhaps they know our face is for living on land and their face is for living in the water.

One thing I do know is that they love a smiling face, and one can never smile enough for a dolphin. Their smiling face is the face we love. Mama mia, how I love those faces… all of them, and I have come to know so many of this tribe.

Come with me to meet them on one of my tours. Look me up on facebook, dolphinwhisper, or learn more about our dolphins at the Dolphin Sealife Center located at 110 N. Garcia, by the lighthouse square; call (956) 299-1957 or visit


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