Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Dolphin Encounters

Dolphins have a brain to body mass second only to humans and much greater than any other mammal (see here for why they are proving to be more intelligent the more we study them) ...


... and their brains have a particularly large area for processing emotional information.


They are highly social animals, living in packs, showing a strong sense of unity and close bonds, constantly interacting with each other - touching, chasing, making noises. Babies suckle their mothers' milk for eighteen months and stay with their mothers until they are six years old, at which age the females start to produce offspring of their own.




At Zoomarine in the Algarve yesterday we had a hands-on encounter with these lovely, gentle and highly intelligent  bottle-nosed dolphins in the pictures. They performed tricks for us at the slightest command (small hand movements and soft high-pitched whistles) from their trainer (in blue below) ...


... and willingly allowed us to kiss their snouts and stroke their heads and bellies (natural behaviour amongst themselves) ...


Daughter no.1 tried out the 'foot push' on a surf board, with two dolphins propelling her at speed through the water, each with a nose to one of her heels (you can just see their shadows beneath the surface of the water underneath her ...


and was rewarded with a smiling face and a nuzzle ...






Below, she is whirled around in circles by a dolphin pressing his nose against the palm of her hand ...


And daughter no.2  was treated to a fast ride by two dolphins swimming on their backs as she held on to their flippers ...


Front view as they deliver her to the far end of the pool ...


and swim silently back, two shadows under the water ...


(photo credits: Nicholas B., our spectator; some are photos of photos taken by Zoomarine)

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful - and beautifully captured!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an unforgettable experience!
    How I would love to have ben in their flippers..
    must go to the Algarve obviously!
    merci carolg

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails