A stunning behavior: dolphins blowing bubbles

March 27, 2009 • 7:05 am

This video (called to my attention by my friend and colleague Matthew Cobb) is absolutely amazing.  Dolphins make complex patterns of bubbles using their blowholes.  What does it mean?  As Matthew says, “My hunch is the poor things are bored rigid and this is just a bit of fun.”

3 thoughts on “A stunning behavior: dolphins blowing bubbles

  1. they have to be using their sonar to shape/control it… seems there is something more than just air in water happening in the video.

  2. Beluga Whales can do the same thing. They blow the bubble rings both out of their blow holes and out of their mouths.

    I heard Ken Ramirez, (head trainer from the Shedd aquarium) speak last week at an animal training conference.

    Belugas do this behavior quite infrequently, but visitors love it. He worked with an aquarium in Japan that wanted to teach their belugas to do the behavior on cue. Belugas are quite playful, sometimes they’ll blow huge bubble rings and then try to swim through them!

    There’s a thorough description of how he put the behavior on cue here, if any one is interested.
    http://www.mail-archive.com/icehorses@yahoogroups.com/msg05464.html )


  3. “what your seeing is their natural behavior.” How they behavior naturally in captivity.” Interstingly, not one person said, “Wow, these animals are smart, they learn, possibly teach, have dynamic social groups and are much more complex than we thought. Perhaps we shouldn’t be holding them in captivity and teaching them tricks for our entertainment.”

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