The snubfin dolphin: Living Water Blasters: The Olive Ridley sea turtles are short-term visitors to the coast, but at Roebuck Bay on the west side of the Ufabet Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia there are animals that take advantage of high tides over vast mud flats, rich in food. And, although they don’t actually leave the sea, they do put their heads out of the water.
The snubfin dolphin: Living Water Blasters
Red sand beaches, tidal creeks and mangroves border this remote, shallow bay. The mangroves are nursery sites where all kinds of young fish, crustaceans and molluscs hide during their formative years. Watching out for the careless or the overconfident are bluenose salmon and other hungry predators.
Loose schools of fish patrol the edge of the mangroves in search of smaller fish, prawns and worms, but they too must watch their backs: although they have the benefit of ufabet living in murky water, there is a creature here that can find them, whatever the visibility.
The snubfin dolphin, or ‘snubby’ as it has become known, frequents river mouths and areas close to mangroves and seagrass beds in water less than 20 metres deep off coasts in the northern half of Australia.
It is shy but gregarious, similar in shape to the closely related Irrawaddy dolphin of southern Asia. It was only classified as a separate species in 2005 and, as assistant producer Will Ridgeon discovered, it is notoriously difficult to find.
In the turbid waters, the snubby, like all dolphins, depends on echolocation to find its prey, which includes a variety of fishes, such as bluenose salmon, as well as crustaceans, octopus and squid. Snubbies sometimes root in the mud looking for crabs, but when ufabet fishing often raise their heads above water and look about – a behaviour known as spyhopping. And then they do something very unusual: they squirt a mouthful of water.
The water jet can reach several metres, and it is often used as a kind of ‘tool to surprise and disorientate its prey. The dolphin can be very precise. It squirts the water just over the head of the fish so the disturbance is behind it. The fish immediately bolts, straight into the snubfin’s open mouth.
For now, though, a serious concern is whether this behaviour will be seen for much longer. Like many species of coastal dolphins, the snubfin is vulnerable to the ufabet degradation of its habitat, the danger of drowning in fishing and anti-shark nets, ship strikes, and stress from underwater noise.
Which results in a diminished immune system and susceptibility to diseases, while beyond Australia fishermen still catch snubfins for food but best estimates indicate there are less than 10,000 mature individuals in the world, the majority living around the northern coasts of Australia.