Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rub Rope

We always try to make the dolphins happier, even in if the way sometimes seems odd. Recently we noticed that a few of the dolphins have itchy backs, so we created a “rub rope” in the front lagoon to help the boys and girls scratch themselves. The rope is actually an old fireman’s hose material, which the dolphins can glide on very easily without leaving any marks or scratches on their skin.

It’s interesting to see how each dolphin interacts with the rub rope. For the first week, all of the dolphins in the front inspected it thoroughly, but did not actually make any moves on it. It seemed they wanted to figure out what exactly it was first. We want the dolphins to understand why we give them objects so instead of just putting the hose in the lagoon and waiting for them to figure it out, one of the trainers, Kelly Jayne, got in the water and demonstrated. .

Envision a dolphin trainer treading water, and rubbing herself up and down a long rope while curious dolphins observe. Yes, it was as hilarious as you’re imagining. Some of the guests, and possibly dolphins, might have thought Kelly Jayne was a little crazy but it was all in good nature and the dolphins got the hint.

Before you knew it, Delta and Louie rubbed themselves all over the rope. Delta likes to scratch the top of his body while Louie enjoys a rub on his peduncle. Other dolphins, like Gypsi, Cayo, Santini, and Reese, were a little shyer and did several drive bys a day to inspect it and watch their buddies.  After a while, Gypsi and Cayo began to use it, too.

The idea of a rub rope, or a trainer shimmying on it to show the dolphins what it’s used for, may seem a little different but that’s what makes it so fun here at DRC! We love to give the dolphins new experiences and do whatever we can to make their lives better.  Not only does it help us learn more about our awesome family members, but we’re also able to share new stories with all of you.