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Bottlenose dolphins © Christopher Swann

On the anniversary of the massacre of 1,423 dolphins, what’s changed?

One year ago today, 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, including mothers with calves and pregnant females,...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
A dolphin plays in front of the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay

Sharing our Spey Bay stories – tell us yours

2022 is Scotland's Year of Stories, a year in which stories inspired by, created or...
Orcas in Australia

Did orcas help rescue entangled humpback whale?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
An orca named 'Hulk' off Caithness, Scotland

My amazing week watching orcas in Scotland

Orca Watch's 10th anniversary event in the far north of Scotland was exhilarating with a...

Faroes dolphin hunt review – disappointing is an understatement

I wasn't alone in hoping that substantial changes would be made as a result of...
Minke whale - V Mignon

We told them this would happen! Time to halt cruel whale experiments

An ill-conceived and so far ill-fated joint US/ Norwegian experiment to test minke whales' reaction...
Sponging dolphin in Shark Bay

Dolphins who catch fish with shells

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...

Why Do Some Dolphins Throw Fish Around?

As the North East Scotland population of dolphins are reckoned to be amongst the biggest and fattest of their species – they really need to find good food just about every day to help maintain their insulation layer and keep the cold out in the chilly waters around here. Now that the main salmon hunting season is here, I often get asked why dolphins sometimes throw salmon around and people wonder if they are “playing” with the fish. Dolphins need to feel that the fish that they are trying to swallow fit properly and comfortably down the throat without hindrance or obstacles otherwise the fish could become jammed or lodged there.

 photo Salmon Capture.jpg

Some dolphins eject fish to re-swallow more than others – Zephyr, in the photo above is very fussy about how the fish is positioned so she does this a lot. A lot of smaller fish that dolphins catch are swallowed quickly underwater – it’s only the bigger prey that we tend to see getting this sort of treatment. The dolphin has to be careful though as too much rough treatment could end up breaking the fish in half, which would expose sharp bones that could be a real problem. So the dolphins are not really playing as such, just making sure that it’s safe to eat. With the main migratory salmon run now underway I hope to see all six of the adopt a dolphin individuals engaging in this activity many times over the summer. Why not support us by adopting a dolphin? http://uk.whales.org/adoptions/dolphins

About Charlie Phillips

Field officer - Adopt a Dolphin