Most people have probably know the TV series “Flipper” the main animal protagonist is a trained bottlenose dolphin. Bottlenose dolphins are some the most common and well-known members of the Dolphin family.
Bottlenose dolphins in the Fiji Islands (Tursiops aduncus)
Bottlenose dolphins inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide, they live in pods of 30 to 40 animals. Sometimes Superpods of over 1000 animals are seen.
They hunt in groups for fish, squid, and crustaceans.
They do also form opportunistic groups with other dolphins or whales. This behavior may serve protection by simply beeing in a bigger group. They are also benefits while hunting.
A bottlenose dolphin can grow very large to over 3 meters and is very impressive in the water.
Bottlenose dolphins have been well studied, they have the largest brain in ratio to body mass of any animal. Latest research shows high intelligence, emotional intelligence, as well as complex communication.
When in the water with them, one can clearly hear their whistles and clicks with which the echolocate their surroundings and communicate. Their echolocation, when directly hit, produces a prickling sensation on the skin.
Bottlenose dolphins show often great curiosity to humans in the water. There are even reports throughout history of the rescue of humans in distress.
Their high intelligence, social abilities, and playfulness has landed them in aquariums around the world or had
them trained in the army as military dolphin (both still highly controversial).
“Dolphin encounter” tours operate to see wild or captured dolphins exist in many countries. It is usually restricted to passive observation only, with a strict code of practice. Fortunately for dolphin watching enthusiasts, the dolphins like to approach boats and ride the bow wave. Most in water encounter of wild bottlenose dolphins are random encounters when swimming snorkeling or diving.
All images here are taken between Ovalau and Wakaya.