Pacific White-sided Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens)@ Sea World San Antonio

My first experience with these beautiful creatures was just Sunday at Sea World.  They represent, what I think should be the embodiment of dolphins.  Fast, sleek, and beautiful.  While bottlenose dolphins are more common around the world and in aquariums, I find the Pacific white-sided dolphins to be much more beautiful.

See the pictures after the break

Much prettier than the flat grey bottlenose and much sleeker too.

These dolphins are only about 50% larger than humans with the males reaching up to 8 feet long and weighing 300 pounds.  They look like they are doing 100 miles per hour sitting still.

These two were part of a show at Sea World called Azul.  It features these two, a beluga whale (which isn’t much larger than the dolphins) and a flight of trained Macaws.  It was what I call a Vegas-style show.  The animals were just participants, like the humans in the show.

While a fine show, I went to Sea World to see animals.  Of course, as a biologist, I’d rather be behind the scenes swimming with them, rather than sitting in the bleachers.

The PWS Dolphin does very well in captivity and there are upwards of 50 aquariums that have them as residents.  There has never been any report of aggression in the captive dolphins.

In the wild, they are stunningly fast at 25 miles per hour.  It doesn’t sound like much, but for a fully submerged animal, it’s pretty quick.  With them being so small, it doesn’t take much to get them high in the air.  Even in the wild, they perform some airborne acrobatics, like this:

Please forgive the pictures, it’s pretty hard to watch the show and take decent pictures.

They can also be easily trained for non-wild behaviors like this:

Tail-walking is only found in captive dolphins, with the exception of a few pods that have accepted a once captive member.  The trained and released dolphin will often teach their new pod mates the tricks they had learned.

One last show to show everything about these amazing animals at once.

Love these little guys.  They were my favorites, I just wish I could have seen them more.

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5 Responses to Pacific White-sided Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens)@ Sea World San Antonio

  1. Wolfhound says:

    These guys are my favorite, too, Mike. 🙂

  2. I love dolphins so much but all that I ever want to do is train pacific white sided dolphins thanks for all the people that are helping me to fulfill this life long dream I love you so much!!! I think that they are beautiful and smart

  3. They shouldn’t be in a tank, it is cruel. How can they behave like real pacific white sided dolphins when they are in there?

  4. Sarah Pengelly says:

    They are called Pacific White Sided Dolphins for a reason. They are found wild in the Pacific Ocean and there they should stay. Your life long dream Karah Woytovish is just that – your dream! I don’t think any of these creatures would choose to be the focus of your dream. Nothing personal, but get informed. The trade in captive dolphins causes unspeakable horror and starts in Taiji, Japan.

  5. Colby Lacy says:

    there is a way to swim with them, its called a dolphin interaction program, its a little pricey but well worth it.

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