Check out this fantastic video shot by Lowcountry photographer Kate Silvia. It was shot this summer off of Folly Beach, S.C. and shows some local bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) strand feeding! Strand feeding is a specialized style of feeding on fish that is observed in Charleston waters, as well as in other regions of South Carolina and Georgia.
Researchers that have documented this behavior have found that it is cooperative, meaning the dolphins work together to get food. Bottlenose dolphins in oceans around the world are known for their unique cooperative hunting behaviors. Our local beaches and muddy banks provide the ideal surface for dolphins to slide up onto, creating a powerful wave that pushes fish out of the water onto the bank with them. Dolphins can grab a meal of fish and then slide safely back into the water. Initial observers thought these dolphins were in trouble when they first witnessed them out of the water on the bank. We now know that our resident dolphins practice this type of feeding year round.
If you are lucky enough to witness this incredible animal showcasing their strength and intellect, don’t forget to watch from a safe distance! Never approach any marine mammal within 50 yards. Not only is it against the law, you could also disturb their natural behavior-like fishing for dinner.