"Snubby," the Rare Dolphin With a Permanent Grin, is Spotted in Australia
You've already been introduced to “Pinky.” Now, meet “Snubby,” a rare melon-headed, snubfin dolphin who is beloved by many for his adorable permanent grin.
Pictures of the rare dolphin were recently captured off the coast of Australia. In the shots, some of which Queensland National Parks posted on Facebook on September 9, "Snubby” is shown enjoying the sunshine off Hinchinbrook Island National Park in Queensland.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), this shy dolphin likes to remain close to home base, enjoys social activity, and lives in small pods of up to 100 dolphins. Darren Grover, the Species National Manager for WWF-Australia who studies the largest known population of snubfin dolphins in Roeback Bay, Broome, believes people love the snubfin dolphin for its unusual look and rarity. Observers also may not be used to how different they are from the bottle-nosed variety, which follow people along in their boats and like to interact with humans.
The cute, smiley mammals, first discovered in 2005, have an interesting practice of spitting water to disorientate their prey before going in to feed. They chase fish to the surface and then use the tactic to herd their dinner.
According to Grover, it's up to us to watch out for these funny-looking guys, as they are vulnerable to human threats such as coastal developments that endanger their habitats, vessels that may hit them while they play with their peers, or fishing nets and lines that can trap them.
To help preserve snubfin dolphin habitats, Grover is hoping for net-free fishing, raised awareness, and further marine park protection. "Just be aware if you are out in your boat, to slow down because if you do come across a snubfin dolphin it will be at the last minute," Grover told Mashable. "The number one thing for snubfin dolphins is just raising awareness, so that people know these types of animals are out there."