Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Kids blogs
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling

Mindful conservation – why we need a new respect for nature

'We should look at whales and dolphins as the indigenous people of the seas -...
tins of whale meat

How Japan’s whaling industry is trying to convince people to eat whales

Japan's hunters kill hundreds of whales every year despite the fact that hardly anyone in...
Common dolphins © Christopher Swann

Did you know dolphins have personalities?

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

Blue whales and the menace of microplastics – how we’ll solve this problem

Our love affair with plastic began in the 1950s when it revolutionised manufacturing. But what...
A dolphin called Arnie with his shell.

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

Did you know that dolphins have unique personalities?

We all have personalities, and between the work Christmas party and your family get-together, perhaps...
Leaping harbour porpoise

The power of harbour porpoise poo

We know we need to save the whale to save the world. Now we are...
Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

Meet Holly, she’s an incredible orca leader

Let me tell you the story of an awe-inspiring orca with a fascinating family story...

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