I found this video completely incredible. It’s new footage of a dolphin giving birth in a lagoon a Hawaii. After watching it I looked up dolphin birth and learned some very cool things:
“Signs of impending birth with the pregnant female include apparent discomfort, hunching up of the body, irregular breathing, irritability, an increased tendency to move objects around in her environment, solicitation of physical contact with trainers (in captivity), swimming upside down, rolling, breaching, rapid swimming, decreased rectal temperature, decreased appetite, contractions, vaginal discharge, and lactation.” (I have to say, a lot of that sounds very familiar!)
“…Handling the newborn calf is usually avoided unless the trainer is presented with an emergency situation.” Humans could benefit from that kind of treatment sometimes, too. “Once the calf is out of the uterus the female quickly snaps off the umbilical cord and typically helps the calf to the surface for its first breath of air…. The dolphin mother-calf bond is so strong that, should the calf be still born, females have often been seen holding their dead calves at the surface of the water.”
Calves nurse for about two years: “During the first 6 months of nursing they will gain one-half to three-quarters of a pound per day from the milk composed of colostrum (containing the mother’s passive antibodies to protect the newborn from early infection) and 40% fat. Nursing is done while swimming.” In this birth you’re about to see the baby was nursing within a few hours of birth.
I also read that, aside from humans, dolphins are one of very few mammals that have recreational sex. Male bottle-nose dolphins have sex with other dolphin species as well as other male dolphins. They’re so clever in so many ways…
Enjoy the video: http://youtu.be/6jCJiO75pxo