The Truth Behind Dolphin Feeding Habits


| LAST UPDATE 10/28/2021

By Eliza Gray
dolphin intelligence group hunting
Michael Weberberger/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

It's no secret that dolphins are incredibly gifted animals. From their communication style to their emotional intelligence, this marine mammal has never ceased to wow the human race. And after learning more about their approach to hunting, we're left speechless, to say the least.

dolphin pack intelligence

Dolphins have amazed researchers by displaying their unique approach to compensating for their lack of limbs. The missing appendages can appear as a disadvantage on the surface, but these aquatic geniuses haven't let it stand in their way - especially bottlenose dolphins, which have developed an ingenious way of securing their meals: mud tornados, also known as mud barriers. By flicking their tail whilst circling a portion of the ocean's corral-covered floor, they're able to disorientate their prey to their demise. The unsuspecting school of fish see the kicked-up sand as a barrier and swim towards the surface of the water, where the pack of dolphins eagerly wait.

dolphin group hunting technique
Jurgen Christine Sohns/Flpa/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

This method doesn't just amaze researchers for the dolphin's individual ability to calculate their hunting. It also proves just how well-connected the pack of dolphins is - and how well they can cooperate to reach a desirable outcome: a delicious meal. The impressive phenomenon was widely observed in bottlenose dolphin populations in the warm waters along the Florida coast, however, that has since changed. According to an article in the journal titled Marine Mammal Science, dolphins as far away as Belize and Mexico have picked up the very same trick.

As of right now, the article's head researcher, Eric Ramos, is unclear whether the far-away dolphin neighbors somehow taught the other population, or whether they each developed the technique on their own. "Either way, it's really cool," Ramos noted when speaking with National Geographic. This is just one jaw-dropping behavior that scientists have noted over the years - dolphins have even been known to chase their prey to the shores and jump out of the water themselves to capture their meal. Doing so, they risk being trapped on land!

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For more amazing insights into the animal kingdom, be sure to check back soon for more interesting articles coming your way.