Dolphin Tales: The Scar of Jug Creek | News, Sports, Jobs


Captain Cathy Eagle. PHOTO PROVIDED

Scar is an old male bottlenose dolphin who cruises Jug Creek daily. You might see him visiting his buddy Uno Fin at the Jug Creek Marina near the north entrance of Jug Creek in Charlotte Harbor or fishing along the mangroves at the west entrance of Jug Creek in Pine Island Sound.

It also sails along the channel at the Bocilla Island Marina.

You can recognize Scar because its dorsal fin and tail fin are covered in white scars. The prevalence of scars and injuries is not uncommon among our local bottlenose dolphins. They are social animals and interactions between individuals are constantly occurring. Dolphins can be gentle or rough, friendly or aggressive. Playing and fighting are normal behaviors in dolphin life. Fights may arise over establishing or maintaining hierarchy within the group or over access to women.

Men tend to behave more aggressively than women.

The dorsal fin of a dolphin is the most exposed part of the body. It does not contain bone or cartilage. It contains only connective tissue, fatty tissue and a dense network of blood vessels, which help maintain body temperature. The fin is easily torn and serrated. Missing tissue never grows back. Notches and notches are formed on the edges of the fin. These marks are durable and can therefore be used to identify individual dolphins.

It’s clear that Scar has led a very active life based on the scratches, gashes, and scars he bears on his body.

In the wild, bottlenose dolphins typically live between 30 and 50 years old. I estimate Scar could be 50, although we may never know unless we look at his teeth. A dolphin’s age can be estimated by looking closely at a cross section of a tooth. Dolphins only have one set of teeth and their teeth continue to grow a little each year. Like tree rings, dolphin teeth have annual layers that can be counted to estimate the dolphin’s age.

Captain Cathy Eagle has spent over 40 years sailing our local waters. As a professional charter captain, she specializes in dolphin and nature excursions. To visit or call 239 994-2572.


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