Dolphins that fish on land

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Probably learned it from their big cousins at the last family reunion


om nom nom nom!

Super cool. I’ve visited these salt marshes, but didn’t see any of this going on in my time kayaking them. I did see the dolphins occasionally surfacing, sometimes very near me.

Rumor has it if you’re in a sizable fishing boat, the dolphins also follow you around to beg for your bait.

The gulls have obviously learned what the dolphins are doing - they’re waiting to steal the fish that jump out onto the shore.

Cousteau profiled a pod of dolphins that did this same thing in “Mammals of the Deep” in 1978.


Couple other posters beat me to it. As much as I respect Discovery Channel’s authority in all matters pawn-shop, bounty hunting, and sasquatch, they are way off in claiming this is unique behavior. Killer whales in Norway (which are dolphins, not whales) have perfected the quite sophisticated technique of corralling herring as a team and using the shore or their tales to then stun or corner the little buttsnacks before they munch them. There is a really wonderful article (in that other rapidly declining nature rag) National Geographic this month about this exact topic.

Also, I had no idea how incredibly social and communal killer whales are. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend the National Geo article, it really was a wonderful and enlightening read.


Here, Muddy Dolphin… Down the hatch!

H-Hey, HEY! None for you Egret. Tryin’a steal Muddy Dolphin’s food. You’ve had yours.

FSM help me, not sure I can let this one go…

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It twas’ a wail of a tail :smiley:

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Maybe I’m just projecting my own sensitive, pasty, geek-skin; but I have to admit some surprise that this tactic catches enough fish to heal the abrasions it would seem to require enduring; much less to be a net-positive.

Am I just overestimating the friction of some complex-as-hell-to-model water/sand slurry layer that exists at the dolphin/shore interface, or are dolphins made of sterner stuff?

Aren’t dolphins supposed to have Magical Healing Rainbow Pyramid powers? I heard that on Fresh Air yesterday.

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I thought that those only worked to turn autistics into Indigo Children; and re-align chakras damaged by chemtrail exposure…


See also the pigeon-eating catfish of France. And unlike the dolphins and orca featured above they’re not even air breathers!

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Apparently they’re 1-1.5 meters in length and nonnative (introduced in 1983). Sounds like the right spot for a large beer-battered fish fry! :yum:

tl;dr: Stuff I know and why I know those dolphins, although not that particular pod.

As I’ve mentioned years ago in CSBs here, I’ve lived on a barrier island in South Carolina for the better part of a decade. At the time some Forrest Gump was filmed on the other side of St. Helena Sound, near Beaufort SC (pronounced Bueford), in ACE Basin, not forty miles away from Savannah.
I worked as a shrimper there, a Fisherman. (I’m sure those are the worlds best shrimp, y’all wouldn’t understand until you tried them. Benjamin Buford “Bubba” was no fool. Just don’t think those are what you will get in a restaurant by default even there.)
Shrimping, like most commercial fishing, is really a morally dirty business I felt, even as I was doing it. Unlike in that movie, by far most of what you have in your nets after a three hour drag is so called “bycatch”. Marine wildlife of no commercial value, often illegal to sell because it is protected or juvenile.
Sometimes just thirty to sixty miles from the actual Gulf Stream (you can see its indigo blue clearly separated from the rest of the ocean and its speed, and you can smell it when you get there) are hundreds(?) of different species in bycatch, from ten foot sharks to little colorful tropical aquarium looking fish, loggerheads and ridleys, horseshoecrabs and colorful, painful mantis shrimp, several varieties of stingrays, fire-jelly and sea wasps, a kind of box jellyfish, sargassumfish that look like they’re frogs from space, smaller three to five foot sharks of various kinds, impossibly skinny needlefish, aggressive blue crabs their pincers clacking audibly, panicked squid changing their colours in rapid waves while dying, krill and other zooplankton that look like trilobites and glow in the dark, lots of awesome creatures the names of which ends in -podae. Many more.
Some critters get caught in shrimp nets many times in their lives but many of them are dead from stress before they even hit the deck or shortly thereafter.
I never hardened to that.
My involvement in conservation and the protection of sea turtles started then. Many fish scream. It sounds like clicking, purring and growling. The shrimp were picked out of that writhing, poisonous, pointy, biting, clawing, burning, stabby, snapping, venomous mass by hand swiftly but carefully into big baskets, layered with ice, and were at that point worth around 25 cents a piece to me. Hundreds of dollars can be earned in one long lucky day by uneducated, not unskilled workers. The work is extremely dangerous even from my skewed point of view. (Tons of weight and a thousand and much more horsepowers connected through strained steel cables on primitive winches controlled by muscle.)
While you drag, the pods of dolphins follow the nets and pick the yummiest out of the fleeing distracted fish.
When it had been the days last drag or we had mechanical issues to take care of, the engine would be off and we were dead in the water. Drifting, while the last scriimps were picked out of the catch, boot deep on the deck. Then the bycatch got pushed off the deck, over board, with shovels akin to snow shovels, brooms and water-pressure from hoses.
Oftentimes a feeding frenzy then occurs. Reserved pelicans and terns get theirs, gulls and hundreds of smallish sharks cause the water and air to boil. It is quite impressive.

I’ve never seen them beg.
If the tursiops truncatus (they eat a lot or at least often because they use up huge amounts of energy zipping through the water all day while having a large brain and receiving all their drinking water from seafood) have an interest in the concentrated allucaneat seafood buffet of dead, shocked and stunned collateral fishery victims, they do this in an organized, orchestrated and pre-planned manner.
While the pod stays a hundred feet back, teams of two or three dolphins come flying in waves into the fray of frenzied sharks so fast, they leave roaring cavitations behind. There they loop around like berserk Richthofens dogfighting, hitting sharks with their beaks sideways, punching them with their flukes so hard that sometimes four foot sharks will be lifted over the surface, tumbling. They rapid fire click extremely loud while they battle. One can hear it from below the waves standing on deck. After half a minute the sharks are gone. The last ones getting away in twitchy spirals, sinking to the deep. This is when the rest of the Ohana moves in. Older, younger, pregnant individuals, moms with calves sometimes just days old. This bycatch is easy food for the less skillful or fit hunters. On the outside of the pod the guards circle. No shark ever comes near the pups, or whatever they’re called. Dolphins are capable of violent brutality, they have to be.
They seemed to like blue and silver spanish mackerels and shiny silver long flat ribbonfish the best, so I would keep some of those separately until the bottlenoses entered the stage. I would kneel on the stern rubrail and hang off the “ladder” close above the water and feed wild dolphins by hand.
This is illegal. I don’t think I knew that then, but even if I had, I don’t know that I could have resisted.
I have always lacked in impulse control.
Also I was still new to that neck of the woods and its rules and had never been closer to it than midtown Manhattan, moving to an Atlantic Island from a Pacific Isle.
The dolphins would never let me touch them for longer than a split second but would come right back even though they knew that I would do it again. They sound absolutely nothing like tv-Flipper and sharks seem fearful of their sounds.
They can catch fish you throw to them without having to learn it.

“Pluffmud”, shown in this video, is slicker than soap. I have flopped around naked in the sun-hot, smelly mud much like those bottlenoses without hurting myself and I’m probably not made from much sterner stuff than you. Beware of occasional oyster shells though. Dolphins really are far tougher than we are. Their skin feels rubbery, somewhat between neoprene. silicone and super-ball, tougher to press into than the bottom of your bare heel. Their noses are more like beaks. Just hard rubber-coated steel. (Dolphins feel cold but their sweet fishy breath is hot.)

So, while this video from Georgia shows a short steep creek-bank consisting of slick pluffmud that is easy for them to slide down off, in the ACE-Basin I have observed slightly different situations and accordingly adjusted and more impressive behavior than shown. Teams of maybe five or seven dolphins would swim shoulder to shoulder towards a less steeply angled sandy creek-bank at the perfect speed, not too slow, not too fast, to create a big wave, driving a school of shrimp in front. (Yes, shrimp school.) At the last moment the flanking wave-maker-herders would make a lightning quick turn, giving the wave some last momentum, and only the center one or two tursiops would continue riding the wave up the low incline beach for several yards on their sides. With the dolphins, the wave carries up hundreds of large shrimp with it.
Unlike pluffmud the dry-ish course shell-sand takes up, drains, a lot of this wave so it doesn’t slosh back into the creek, causing both the dolphins as also the shrimp to end up stranded waterless, three or five yards away from the tidal creeks edge, near the marsh grass. on nearly flat ground.
I have never once seen a bottlenose do this on its belly, they purposely always end up on their side.
Shrimp when finding themselves suddenly on dry land frantically jump, up to four feet or so high, hoping to end up in water quickly. Even though they have loads of legs their build doesn’t allow them to walk above water at all. They keel over. Just like the dolphins they flop on their sides. The landed dolphins now catch the shrimp in mid air instead of chomping into sand. After about a minute or so the few remaining scriimps are done jumping and start dying from stress, and the dolphins turn themselves around and on their sides move the several yards back to the water. Their two modes of locomotion are a dragging, pushing off with their flukes and also a flopping, reminding me much of a breakdance move I once was capable of but the name of which i can’t think of, where the body touches the ground in a waveform and at some point of the cycle none of the body touches the ground, inching forward. Only that Flipper and gang don’t do it on their stomachs.
Then the whole maneuver gets repeated because now it is someone else’s turn to snack, all the while the kids watch from nearby.
Typically this dry-fishing is done in the early morning or evening hours and not mid-day when the beach is often too hot to walk bare-footed on, and from spring to midsummer when the shrimp run thick.

If you simply have to see this yourself:
First rent a beach house in Edisto Beach or book camping in the State Park long in advance, there are no hotels, fly into Charleston SC, America’s friendliest city (No, it’s fucking true, asshole!), rent a car, drive 40some miles to Edisto Island, go to Island Bikes and Outfitters, if you’re an experienced sea-kayaker rent a Kayak, get a map of Ace Basin and a compass, find the creeks between Otter Islands and Pine Island, 45 minutes of paddling from Big Bay Creek. Or if not so experienced, arrange with Island Bikes and Outfitters for a guided tour, they may be able to do that or they know someone who can. Tourism-ing is expensive but If you are from a northern or west-coast city you might find everything in South Carolina surprisingly cheap, unless things have changed a bunch in ten years.
If you tell Tony that Ipo sent you he will laugh, quit being an uptight ass, laugh again and might give you a break.
The bycatch dilemma is slightly better now, since shrimpers have to install bycatch reduction devices and turtle extruders into their nets.
Most shrimpers I knew did this voluntarily before it was law.
My dog really liked dolphins and they swam with him.
ACE Basin Nai`a also have other cool and unusual hunting methods but I’m not writing a book here.
Just one more thing. While these Tursiops truncatus move onto land regularly, they rarely if ever jump. I find that interesting.
But I find many things interesting.

No bitching, you didn’t have to read all that. Stick with twitter then.


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