When a group of boaters was out off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with Got Stryper Charters, they saw something very strange: a pod of dolphins traveling with a lone killer whale.
To those not in the know about the feeding habits of killer whales, it might seem a curious choice of traveling companion for the dolphins. But the dolphins knew something most people don’t. See, there are two types of orca whales: transient and resident. While resident whales eat only fish, transient orcas have been known to eat everything from porpoises and seals to sea lions.
The whale in the video happens to be a resident killer whale and somehow, the dolphins knew it was safe to swim alongside.
“Other marine mammal species appear to know the difference between fish-eating (resident) and mammal-eating (transient) orcas,” Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, told The Dodo. “Researchers can tell the difference, so certainly it makes sense that potential prey can too. I’ve seen this before — white-sided dolphins treat large male fish-eating orcas the same as they would a boat — they ride his ‘bow.’”