Thursday, July 26, 2012

What's That Dolphin Doing?

When guests follow our path around to our causeway, one of the first pair of eyes they are greeted by are Rainbow’s. Rainbow, or Bo as he is affectionately called, is one of our big boys who lives in a lagoon with four other guys, Talon, Pax, Sandy, and Kibby. Bo loves his guy time, but he also loves to hang by the guests and watch them.

One of the most asked questions by guests when Bo is hanging out is “Why is he just laying there?” We can’t speak for him but we can give some answers as to why he decides to hang out where he does.

Usually he’s in the shallow side of his lagoon which is perfect for sleeping. Dolphins sleep with half of their brain at a time because they are conscious breathers. Dolphins have bi-lateral brains. So, if you see Rainbow’s right eye open it could mean that the left side of his brain is sleeping and vice versa. He might remain relatively still, just like we do when we’re snoozing.  Dolphins can also move their eyes independently of each other.  While Rainbow keeps one eye on you, he can also check out what’s happening in the water beneath him. The area that Rainbow likes to hang out in also is the perfect spot to have a nice chat with some of his other friends at DRC. Rainbow loves his bachelor pod, but sometimes he enjoys a visit with other dolphins for a while. Our lagoons provide that option for our dolphins. Next to his lagoon are his friends Tanner, A.J., and newest friend, Jax. Rainbow has taken a special interest in Jax and the two of them often lie out and chat through the fence. If you listen at the right time, you can hear the two of them whistling and clicking at one another.

We also know that our dolphins love to watch guests who are coming through DRC. We always tell our guests that they’re the entertainment for our dolphins, not the other way around. It’s amazing how Bo and the rest of the animals here at DRC respond to humans and are genuinely curious about us. Sometimes you’ll catch their eye and our dolphins want to make it known they’re stealing a glance at you. You can tell Bo is people watching because he’ll hang out in that corner and use both of his eyes. Dolphins don’t have eyes on the front of their face like humans do, but instead have them on the sides of their melon. So they have to physically shift their body to look in front of them. If you see Bo shift himself in your direction, and even swimming alongside the shallow water, he’s probably checking you out!

Last but not least, Rainbow is a ladies’ man. In the lagoon across from him lives a maternity pod with five ladies. He loves to talk to them and see how they’re doing. He also enjoys talking to the little boys in the lagoon who may eventually end up living with him once they’re old enough. Again, you may hear clicks and whistles from Rainbow, or you may see him put his whole melon under the water and nod back and forth.
When you see Bo hanging out at the causeway, watch his behavior to figure out what he’s doing. You might catch him during a nap or you may get followed by a pair of dolphin eyes.