“Does your dolphin bite?”, asked the visitor to Slidell, Louisiana. “No,” replied a nearby Slidellian, as the dolphin chomped down on the tourist's hand. “I thought you said your dolphin doesn't bite!” accused the pain-stricken, bleeding man, to which the laconic local replied “That is not my dolphin.”
Apocryphal perhaps, but experts consulted in the wake of the latest Louisiana dolphin attack surmise the rogue fish, er, mammal was fed by humans in the past, and has learned to associate an outstretched hand with food. In these cases, however, hands not offering food are assumed to BE food. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!
The suspect dolphin is no stranger to the area, according to Greg Walters, who lives by the canal in Lakeshore Estates. “The dolphin was raised back here and then all of a sudden I think the mother disappeared and the dolphin just stayed here,” said Walters, whose niece had been previously been bitten on the hand by the dolphin.
The dolphin first came to notice in 2005 when it took up residence in the canal following the devastating passage of Hurricane Katrina, which caused much damage to the area around Slidell.
Since then, well-meaning people concerned for the young dolphin's welfare have given it food from time to time but as the dolphin is a wild creature, its behavior isn't at all predictable compared to that of a domesticated animal.
The latest victim of Furious Flipper is a teenage boy in a small boat who was washing his hands in the water. He may not be the last, either, as authorities have stated they have no plans to remove and/or relocate the dolphin. (via PRI, images via Gambit and Veronica Bingham, U.S.Navy)