During some of my dives I sometimes asked myself this question: are marine animals playing?

If we consider that playing is a free activity, mental, physical or social and based on pleasure, we are entitled to ask the question of whether marine animals are capable of such behavior.

They are curious, this seems obvious to me.

These red fish that swim and swim in front of the lens of your camera, these trumpet fish who follow the divers so close and stick their eyes so close to their diving masks, these octopuses who come willingly to touch your torch if you stay still ( we had seen here together their intelligent behaviors), …

But are they playing ?

Here, it is important to distinguish between mammals, fish and molluscs.

Until recently, it was usual to say that molluscs and fish were not able to carry out playful activities.

Yet, in 2014, researchers at the University of Tennessee were able to determine that young fish could develop gaming behaviors including jousting whose objective is to learn how to fight in adulthood.

It seems that fishs are also growing up playing just like our little ones.

But if these behaviors are difficult to observe with fish, it is not the same for mammals as dolphins (regularly exploited for their competence to play by the marine parks 🤬)

To my delight, I had the opportunity to observe a while ago a dolphin playing with his fish exactly like a cat with his mouse. I told you that in this article about diving in Elphinstone.

Fun, right?

Feel free to tell us your personal observations, on the marine animals that play, in a comment below

Above all … do not forget to be happy 🤗


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