Meet the Snubfin Dolphins: Australia’s very own indigenous dolphin species.
Great news to all the dolphin lovers! There’s a little-known dolphin species from Australia that’s just a delight to watch.
Though they were first seen in the splashing waters off Northern Australian Coasts, they were mistaken for an isolated group of Irrawaddy Dolphins which they closely resemble.
In 2005, these dolphins were given a separate species identity as the Australian Snubfin Dolphin (Orcaella Heinsohni).
They have three colors on their skin which is one of the features that separates them from the Irrawaddy dolphins that only have two. There are also some notable differences in their skulls and fins.
What’s So Different About Snubfin Dolphins?
These dolphins will make your heart melt and encountering them in open waters is a delightful sight. Their very rounded and cute blunt head makes them look like they almost have no beak. There is also a narrow crease behind the head in the neck region.
The three colors (brown, light-brown, and white), seen in these dolphins adds to their visual appeal. The dorsal side of their fin shows a dark cape, their side is predominantly light grey or brownish grey whereas their bellies show a whitish grey hue.
Adults grow to a maximum length of between 2.2 to 2.7 meters while calves are 1 meter long.
Snubfin Dolphins are the first new dolphin species to discovered in the last 56 years!
Habitat And Behavior Of Snubfin Dolphins
Snubfin dolphins prefer to live in shallow coastal waters in small groups or in the brackish estuaries.
They perform activities like sky hopping, tail-slapping, partial jumping etc. These dolphins get startled easily, are shy creatures, and as a result, may take a dive of up to 12 minutes as against 30-60 seconds normally. They eat fish, crustaceans and cephalopods but are voracious feeders.
Snubfin Dolphins Are Endangered
Their population is very low and is decreasing further because of a number of threats in Queensland.
- Snubfin dolphins live in shallow coastal waters so they sometimes get captured in gill nets and other fishing endeavors.
- Dumping of chemical waste in the waters.
- Excessive noise.
- Overpopulation of jet skis and boats in the sea waters leading to increased incidents of collision with snubfin dolphins.
What Can You Do To Help Snubfin Dolphins?
These lovely creatures are very shy, cute and harmless. It’s heartbreaking to watch them going extinct!
We should all come forward to their aid. Simple things like not dumping water and trash in sea water will help this animal and other sea creatures too.
Additionally, recycle more.
When you go to watch them in the open waters, try not to go too close to them because they might feel harassed as loud and sudden noise disturbs them. They are very adorable creatures so go pour your love on them taking care to avoid disturbing them.
Plan a holiday to Queensland or other northern shores.
Get going! Australia is calling! To all the dolphin lovers out there, this is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss. And to those who have not encountered them yet, you will come back with your heart full of immense love for snubfin dolphins and other dolphins too.
These dolphins live on the Sahul shelf of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Over time, they have become a matter of deep interest to marine scientists as well as marine lovers. Don’t miss the chance; and you can plan a trip next winter when they are seen in large groups. Winter marks the peak of their mating season.
Queensland National Parks Facebook.