Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Luna Noodle

Luna loves new things!
Introducing dolphin safe toys is a fun way to keep the dolphins stimulated and see their likes and dislikes. Some of the dolphins love their hula hoops and target poles, while others love to have a basketball thrown into their lagoon. With so many youngsters in the Dolphin Research Center pod, we’re constantly bringing toys onto the dock for dolphin play time.
The newest toy Luna has begun to play with is a pool noodle. It’s the same cylindrical piece of foam that humans use in the water. However, instead of using it as a floatation device, the dolphins use it in many ways. Some dolphins love the way it feels against their skin. Others like to carry it around. Sometimes the dolphins swim under or jump over it. One thing we’ve learned here at DRC is that the dolphins will find all sorts of unique uses for the same object.

Luna, a three year old youngster, is still deciding whether or not she likes noodles. With her trainers, she slowly touches her rostrum against the foam and then quickly swims away. When she pops her beautiful face out of the water, she squeals as if to say “Did you see? I touched it!” After all, touching a new object is a big deal!

It may take Luna a bit longer to get use to the noodle, but we can tell she’s enjoying the new object. Every time the trainer brings it down onto the dock, she gets excited. We love to play with her, but not for too long. Like any other training, it’s important to end on a positive note.  Once Luna has a few good experiences with the noodle, it’s time to focus on something else.