Get ready to be disillusioned. When you think of bottle-nosed dolphins what comes to mind; Flipper, maybe those frisky crowd pleaser’s at the aquarium? Well bottle-nosed dolphins can be aggressive and combative. Here in the Bahamas these two bottle-nose are picking a fight with this spotted dolphin probably just to establish their dominance. Then, just to show it’s not a species thing, they turn on one of their own, a smaller bottle-nose and start giving it a hard time.
Here the dolphins’ true aggressive nature is revealed. Before a bottle-nose will attack it engages in a behavior called jaw clapping. This is a clear visual and audible threat. After the threat comes the tussle including a pretty nasty tail bite. Yep, conflict and violence. Every day life for a bottle-nose dolphin. They also fight over females. These two males flank this female to keep her from straying. Female dolphins want to mate with as many males as possible. Males want them to mate with, well just them, hence tight-order guard duty. This includes the audible warning. Males form alliances, sometimes even super alliances like this one made up of 14 dolphins. Thus the females have to figure out a way to defeat this kind of bully-boy behavior. When an alliance harasses a female with a baby, she fights with all the fury a mother can muster, protecting her child. It seems to be one of the few times the macho males get put in their place.