Nature Niche: Dolphins Are Just Like Us

Nature Niche pic-12-8-11

Special to the Parade

Everyone loves to think of dolphins as a fun loving, happy being of the seas, and for the most part they are. But, like us, this beautiful animal has emotions that run high, and the pendulum swings in the range of their emotions as ours.

This photo that I took several years ago of a young male dolphin named Droopy, shows they can be very much like us. The rake marks you see on this little fellow are the result of being raked by the teeth of some older male dolphins. Now what he did or didn’t do to deserve this is beyond me.

I can only think of a few scenarios that would lead to this. Perhaps not unlike what leads a group of human males to beat up on a lone, younger male. Pure bullies perhaps. It is normal so see little rake marks from each other’s teeth on our dolphin for they are very mouthy with each other, but as you see in this photo their teeth can also be used to hurt and maim. This little guy to a beating and when I took this photo, his only friend seemed to be the remora clinging to his beaten little body. I was not sure that he would survive his wounds. I had never seen this before or since.

I spoke with my marine mammal vet friend and he felt if it were just rake marks and no brutal bruising from ramming, he would survive. And survive he did, I was amazed how quickly he healed and with very little scarring. He was not alone long and took up with a younger male. He finally bonded with a friend that would help to keep him safe from another beating.

So this shows us how very much like us they are, and how important their tribal ways to keep the peace and make leading a social life work. This tribe of dolphins has their own unique lifestyle, and they know their nature niche better than anyone of us, their Laguna Madre.

I love this tribe and want them to be safe and keep their ways. It is their nature niche.

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