Girl calls over dolphins using a comb and a toothpick


Originally published at:


I used to love seaworld, and I probably still would. I realize the ethical implications, but if you aren’t a vegetarian etc, I think you are hardpressed to find morally clean interactions with animals in this society. I know I will be shouted down for this, but is it really so bad to have a couple of dolphins in a cage (presuming the keepers are at least trying to keep them healthy) for the educational value for kids as opposed to each of us, indirectly perhaps, murdering 100’s of livestock a year for consumption and never thinking about the conditions?

anyway - just a thought experiment - I know I’m a bad person for bringing it up.


The dolphins hopefully had a nice break here from the monotony of imprisonment, and that the girl seemed to stay and do that for hours shows character, for her and her parents. But the banality of the captive animal experience in our culture does inure people to seeing some of its moral pitfalls.

A wild animal in captivity is indeed safe from life in nature, which is of course war; fighting for life, one way or the other. Dolphins’ life in nature these days also of course includes swimming in an atmosphere polluted by humans.

But a wild animal in captivity suffers in physically detrimental ways because the life evolution set it up to live is constrained/thwarted at every turn. The socializing and wide-ranging food-gathering activities that tend to give animals like this (and humans, of course) their intelligence is constrained by tank life. (And then we subject the animals to market forces, too; one park shuts down and they get shunted off to another place, maybe with worse conditions.)

But the dolphins seemed healthy?? “So long and thanks for all the fish,” hopefully? Ugh, wish this was better.


As you say, where can you find clean moral interactions with animals in this society? I think this seaworld kind of thing is just so part of the culture that people don’t even think of it, like the mass consumption of factory-farmed animals.

So, not a bad person for asking, and it’s a valid thought experiment in a world that humans affect at every level (so how will we manifest our ideals in this world?), considering that there are people who can yammer on about captive wild animals while simultaneously defrosting chicken for supper.


You can’t make pools large enough for dolphins to really swim around. It’s like keeping a dog in a small apartment all its life. This is made worse by the fact that dolphins poop in the water and it’s hard to keep it clean.

If people could train dolphins so they could swim free in the ocean most of the day and come for shows it would be another matter, and I think it would be totally possible to domesticate dolphins to that level. Just start with the dolphins we have in captivity and move them to facilities at the coast. Some will leave, of course, but that way we will select for the more tame dolphins.


Word of warning: When I was young I visited a dolphin petting pool at SeaWorld. If we wanted to pet the dolphins we were instructed to slap the top of the water with our palm to get their attention. Because I wasn’t getting their attention I decided to rap my finger hard and fast on the inside wall of the tank instead. I was excited to see that this got some attention and I reached out my hand to pet one of the approaching dolphins. A moment before they got to me one of the approaching dolphins breached the water with an open mouth. I quickly pulled my hand back but I felt the bottom teeth with my fingers as its mouth snapped shut. I stood there, next to the tank, shocked holding my uninjured hand, jaw dropped, looking at the dolphins. Moments later, it might have been the same one, a dolphin swam close and slowly by, rolled on its back, presenting its extended penis. To this day I don’t know if I made a friend or an enemy.


i like it - also that sounds like the start of a movie where, in the second act someone says “hey, that’s not a dolphin!!”


Uh; that might have been “Fuck you”.


Perhaps. I will remain optimistic.


I make no claims as to this article’s correctness, but I remember when I read it it seemed like a reasonable argument: if a company does something bad, and people punish them with boycotts, and then the company changes and stops doing the bad things, and people continue to punish them, what that trains companies to do is ignore boycotts.


Only Hank Hill knows for sure.


I’m just here, successfully resisting any urge to Google “dolphin penis.”


In order to satisfy Peter’s increasing sexual urges, he would be transported to another pool with two female dolphins. This was a logistical nightmare and it disrupted his communication lessons constantly. Eventually, Lovatt took it upon herself to relieve Peter of his urges, rather than going through the long and inconvenient process of transporting him, “It would just become part of what was going on, like an itch, just get rid of that scratch and we would be done and move on.”


That kicks the shit out of my hairbrush+floss dolphin caller.


The ways those dolphins are rubbing up against each other, they look to be as tactile as cats!


Dolphin is like “why does she keep saying that, Bob?”


Now why’d you have to go and show me a thing like that? Between that and the dolphin gang raping…


“Uh, please stop saying that. That is our word. I am asking you politely.”


Just one of those unseeable things that ya just know you’ll find the right time to share with others… sorrynotsorry!


You’re a bad person. I like you.