But what do these dolphins do with anacondas in their mouths?

Is it a game, a hunting exercise, or a strange sexual practice? Despite the efforts of researchers, the mystery remains unsolved.

Researchers have just published a particularly amazing work that they spotted The New York Times. In their research paper, they describe a unusual scene; They are already surprised Interactions between a gang of dolphins and anaconda Which left them confused.

The scene in question took place in August 2011, in the Tegamoche River in Bolivia. A team of naturalists were documenting the region’s exceptional biodiversity when they came across the Bolivian river dolphins. These are animals that are difficult to observe because they are relatively rare and often secretive.

During their observations, the researchers noted that these dolphins spent a long time with their dolphins head above water; Suspicious behavior of these animals that largely prefer to remain submerged in a river shelter. In addition, the unusual movements of the group also challenged the researchers.

The distance did not allow them to discern every detail of the scene, but they still took the opportunity to collect a whole series of photos to try to decipher this unusual behavior.

Well, it took them. Because by analyzing the images, they noticed that these six dolphins weren’t the only animals involved in this scene. And so the two of them spent long minutes They carry little anacondas in their mouths While swimming in sync!

A snack, a game or something from studying?

Instinctively, the first instinct might be to think that they were trying to devour the snake. But researchers quickly dismissed this hypothesis. In fact, anacondas are part of the so-called top predator; Term intended for species that do not have to be afraid of the slightest natural predator. And the rest of this funny interaction proved that they were right, because the snake did not end up in the throats of dolphins.

So the researchers suggested that it could be a file simple game. Dolphins are known to be very intelligent animals Love intellectually stimulating activities It is no longer shown; Just watch a group enjoying unusual bubbles in the video below to be convinced. This is even more true when these activities are performed in a group, because social dimension It occupies a very important place in this species.

This last observation, in particular, prompted the researchers to formulate another hypothesis. In fact, they noticed that some individuals were very young; So it can be Educational activity in the first place. “They could show the youth what anacondas are, or even teach them hunting techniques‘,” she explains to The Times, citing the team’s work.

But none of these explanations managed to win unanimous support. If the animal is alive, then why on Earth would dolphins bother to go and rub their shoulders with an apex predator that could easily weigh several tens of kilograms, even if they weren’t a threat to them? And if he’s dead, what’s the point of knowing that they clearly didn’t plan to bite him?

Sex toy in spite of himself?

And the mystery deepened even more when the researchers discovered another, even more bizarre detail: By peeking at the side of their genitals, they noticed that dolphins were especially cheerful. “Maybe it was sexually stimulating for them‘,” explains Diana Reese, a marine biologist he interviewed The New York Times.

Although the wording may surprise, it is again a well-documented characteristic of male dolphins; These mammals already have an active and particularly diverse sex life compared to the rest of the animals. “They often use their penises for tactile interactions‘” Reese says, adding that he’s already seen a male dolphin trying to break through a whale’s jet-setting hole in an aquarium.

Moral of the story: None of the researchers interviewed by Dr The New York Times Failed to make a decision. At present, the motives that prompted these dolphins to seize the anacondas still exist It is still very mysterious. In any case, what is certain is that the person in question must not have appreciated the experience. “I don’t think he had a good time‘,” acknowledges Stephen Reichel, one of the study’s authors.

The study text is available here.

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