We have long known that dolphins are some of the smartest animals.
Their brains to body ratio are second only to humans and that means that they are particularly intelligent creatures.
According to scientists, this intelligence can be observed in many different aspects of dolphin behavior.
More specifically, they are sociable, they teach their offspring life skills, they can even check out each other’s pregnancies, and more.
What many people didn’t know so far was what tricks dolphins use to catch their prey- ie. small fish. Well, for starters, it would be necessary to establish that bottlenose dolphins need to eat 4%-6% of their body weight in food per day.
So, what are some of the techniques they use in order to get this fish food?
To begin with, we should know that bottlenose dolphins often cooperate in order to hunt and catch their prey.
Now, one of the most common methods in open waters is encircling a large school of fish and herding it into a dense mass. There, dolphins take turns enjoying their fish meal.
Another technique is what specialists call “strand feeding”.
In other words, dolphins herd schools of fish against sand bars or mud, so that they trap them in shallow water, where they are easy prey.
Alternatively, they sometimes can be observed using a sponge as a shield when hunting in areas where there are rocks or sandy bottoms. This is usually done by some coastal bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia.
There, a small number of female dolphins carry a certain species of sponge on their beaks, diving deep into the water, and then drop it before surfacing and swallowing their prey.
This way, apart from protecting themselves from rocks and sand, dolphins also protect themselves from the spines of certain fishes or stingrays.
Now, the trick used by some bottlenose dolphins on the west coast of Florida is known as “mud ringing”, and it can be seen in the video below.
But, what exactly does this technique entail?
Well, dolphins swim around the school of fish they have marked as their prey, while hitting the seafloor with their tail flukes. This creates a ring of mud that surrounds the small fish. The latter, panic and desperately try to escape this ring and leap up into the air.
Dolphins that expect this kind of reaction on the part of the fish, are there waiting for them and just swallow them, enjoying their meal.
Specialists believe that this whole thing might have started by a single dolphin that once created a mud ring, thus trapping some fish which then jumped into the air and into the dolphin’s mouth, and so it taught this method to other dolphins, too.
We mentioned before that they are intelligent creatures, didn’t we?
The video that follows shows dolphins in Florida showing off their mud-ringing trick and they leave us speechless with their skill. It is amazing how one of the dolphins stirs up the mud from the seafloor, creating a tight circle, where it traps its prey. The small fish then can be seen “flying” in the air right into the dolphins’ mouths. What an ill fate, indeed!
Click play on the video below to see for yourself the amazing dolphins in action.
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