Tail Walking is where a dolphin leaps out of the water backwards and moves backwards on its tail. It is an incredible sight to see and is very unusual behaviour for wild dolphins.
The Port River Dolphins have become quite famous for their skill of tail walking and it all started with one amazing dolphin named Billie. Billie had become trapped in the Patawolonga near Glenelg and was placed in captivity in Marine Land for a short period of time. Luckily she was released back in to the wild where she made her way back to the Port River. It was in the Port River that Billie was first seen tail walking. It is believed she learnt this behaviour from watching other dolphins in Marine Land.
For a long time Billie was the only dolphin in the Port River that tail walked. We were therefore incredibly surprised in 2006 when we saw Billie’s friend, Wave tail walking. More recently we have seen more of the Port River Dolphins tail walking including Bianca, Juliette, Angel, Ripple, a smooth fin and Oriana.
We have seen Bubbles, Marianna and Tallula, Doc and some of the other younger dolphins attempting tail walks but it has been very sporadic and they have not continued this behaviour. It therefore appears at this stage to only be the female dolphins that are tail walking and we are still trying to work out if there is a reason behind this behaviour.
One of our very energetic dolphins, Wave used to be seen tail walking very regularly. She was an incredibly active dolphin and we often saw her do several tail walks in a row. One evening in the space of a few hours we saw her do more than 60 tail walks.