There were two dolphins swimming and playing in the Tijamuchi River in Bolivia, and they were identified as Bolivian river dolphins. …and here’s when it gets strange. In their jaws that they were holding an apex predator, a Beni anaconda.
The researchers took images of the uncommon encounter, which occurred in August 2021, and documented it in an article published last month in the scientific journal Ecology.
When the study team arrived at the location, they quickly discovered a bunch of dolphins and started shooting photographs of them. After reviewing their initial photographs, the researchers realized that the dolphins were carrying a snake, according to the findings of the study.
In part because the contact lasted at least seven minutes, the researchers believe it became evident that the dolphins were engaging in playful behavior with the snake rather than attempting to consume it.
It was at this moment that they saw the adult males, each of whom was clutching onto the anaconda and swimming in sync. When the researchers subsequently reviewed the photographs, they discovered that the dolphins had erect penises, which further reinforced the notion that the relationship was a playful one.
Dolphins have a reputation for being somewhat sexual other species and even people, but this was the first time an interaction between a Bolivian river dolphin and a Beni anaconda had been reported.
“It could have been sexually stimulating for them,” Diana Reiss, a marine mammal scientist told the New York Times. A researcher who was not engaged in the study, Reiss, speculated that the anaconda might have just been something to “rub on”.
Generally reaching lengths of more than 6 feet, beni anacondas are big semi-aquatic snakes that have no known predators. They are found in the Amazon basin. With the exception of a single instance of cannibalism, experts have not found any evidence of the serpents being consumed. However, the team was unable to determine where the snake ended up in this instance.
“I don’t think that the snake had a very good time,” Dr Steffen Reichle, one of the study’s authors, said.
“The fact that the adult river dolphins became seemingly sexually aroused (as seen by their erect penises through the genital slits) during this interaction also further corroborates that this was a playful interaction,” they said.
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