Winter answers your questions here! Click on the questions below to get your answers.
Winter, are you a boy or a girl?
I am a girl dolphin, just like my best friend Hope.
How old were you when you were found?
When I was found, I was just two months old. Normally, baby dolphins, called calves, will stay with their mothers for one to three years, but I was all alone.
Who found you when you were tangled up in the crab trap line?
A fisherman found me and cut the line. He then called a rescue team. Thank goodness I was close to the surface when I was tangled up – otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to breathe! Dolphins breathe air through their blowhole, on top of their head, and, luckily, I could lift mine to the surface of the water!
Who rescued Winter?
Rescue teams from Harbor Branch Institute and Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute worked with Clearwater Marine Aquarium to save me from the ocean and bring me to my new home at CMA. They also rescued our newest dolphin resident, Hope!
How did Winter get her name?
I was found in the month of December, so I was named after the chilly season in which I was rehabilitated.
When is Winter's birthday?
While we don't know my true date of birth, the team at CMA estimated my birthday to be October 10, 2005, as I was only two months old when I was rescued. When filming the movie in 2010, I was only 5, making me the youngest movie star on set!
What is Winter's favorite color?
Blue, just like the ocean and my favorite floating mat! Believe it or not though, dolphins have a different eye structure than humans and can only really see the color blue – we are essentially color-blind. Because of that different eye structure, though, we can see clearly above and below the water!
What is Winter's favorite food?
That one is a tie – I like capelin and silversides, two different types of fish I am fed at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I was still drinking milk when I arrived at CMA, so I have never had to hunt for fish and never will! That's fine with me though – I love my tasty capelin and yummy silversides!
What's Winter's favorite toy?
I love floating around on my mat. That way, I can relax and still look good for all my fans.
What was it like getting your first prosthetic tail?
My trainers worked really hard to make sure I was comfortable with the tail before they put it on me. We worked together to exercise and practice moving my tail stump up and down without the tail so that I would be strong enough to wear it. Then, once the first tail was ready, they allowed me to check it out and get used to the new and strange object before sliding it on.
How have the tails changed over time?
The first tail was a lot smaller than the ones I wear today, because I was a lot smaller then too! As I grow, they keep making the tails larger, just like you might get new shoes when your feet get bigger. With each new tail model, they try new things, making it more comfortable and beneficial for me to wear!
Do you like wearing your tail?
Wearing the tail is hard work because it makes me exercise a part of my body I don't normally use. I know it is important for me to do though, and it is getting easier the more I practice. It makes my trainers really happy to see me use it right, and I trust them to take the very best care of me!
How often do you wear the tail?
My trainers say that my tail is for physical therapy – that's where they keep my spine and muscles healthy by exercising and stretching them. I only wear the tail for about an hour or less every day.
Why don't you wear the tail more?
Dolphin skin is incredibly sensitive. Like other bottlenose dolphins, I shed a layer of skin every two hours. If I wore the tail too long, it could actually hurt my skin and make the tail uncomfortable.
Can you swim without your tail?
Yes, I really can swim in that side-to-side motion. I learned how to do that all by myself! But I do need to wear my tail to keep my muscles and spine healthy.
How are you doing today?
I am healthy and doing just fine, living in my pool at CMA with my best pal, Hope. There are lots of visitors coming to see me each day and I just love meeting new people!
How do you feel about all the attention?
As a calf, I grew up around people so I love the attention I get from all my adoring fans and from the wonderful team at CMA. Sometimes, I even pose for pictures! If there aren't a lot of people around my pool, I use my characteristic "tweety-bird" whistle to call them over! You should come see me too!
What was it like filming "Dolphin Tale"?
I never thought I would grow up to be a movie star, but the limelight suits me well! I get to reunite with a bunch of great actors and actresses, working with an amazing crew, and learn more the movie industry. The big cameras and lights are a change for me, but my trainers worked for a long time before the movie crew arrived to get me used to all that new equipment. Once filming began, I had a blast! I got to be the center of attention – just the way I like it! Of course, I've always gotten the star treatment at CMA, as do all the resident animals, so I'm trying not to let my fame go to my head!