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'Patches' the Albino Dolphin Makes Rare Appearance

The Bottlenose mammal seen on Thursday is a "piebald," or partially albino, says Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching General Manager Donna Kalez.

OK, besides having a great name, check out this bottlenose dolphin known as "Patches" the crew of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching recently spotted in Dana Point.

According to Donna Kalez, general manager: "We have seen him for years. He travels back and forth all over the coast as far north as Monterrey and as far south as San Diego. We haven't seen him around here since February, but he was back on Thursday." 

Patches is called "piebald," or partially albino, and yes, it appears he loses pigmentation on areas where he gets "raked" by the other dolphins.

These scratches are very common, as it is a part of natural social interaction among dolphins; they're just more obvious on Patches and he is the only one they have seen like this, she said.

"It's very rare to see him and people love it," Kalez said.

Maybe he'd like to be our mascot.

Fast Facts: Bottlenose Dolphins

Type:MammalDiet:CarnivoreAverage life span in captivity:45 to 50 yearsSize:10 to 14 feet (3 to 4.2 m)Weight:1,100 pounds (500 kg)Group name:PodDid you know?Bottlenose dolphins have been observed to breach up to 16 feet (4.9 meters) out of the water, landing with a splash on their back or side.Size relative to a 6-foot (2-m) man

(Source: NationalGeographic.com)

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