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.
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