Hundreds of dolphins ‘stampede’ off Southern California coast

A spectacular sight took place off the Southern California coast when hundreds of dolphins swam alongside a whale-watching boat.

Davey’s Locker & Newport Landing Whale Watching shared the dazzling video with FOX Television Stations. They filmed the pod of dolphins on Jan. 23 off Newport Beach.

The company’s social media manager Jessica Roame said she easily saw hundreds, if not more than a thousand, Common Dolphins exhibiting what’s called "stampeding." The event happened as she and some passengers were simply watching when all of a sudden, the dolphins started to take off.

"The dolphin were seen here jumping completely out of the water at a high rate of speed, all moving at a high rate of speed in one direction," Roame said to FOX Television Stations. "Think of it like a dolphin marathon!"

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According to Roame, scientists aren’t sure what causes dolphins to stampede but jumping out of the water allows the marine mammals to travel much faster and for much longer distances.

"So these excited dolphin may have been stampeding to catch up to a food source nearby, or even to avoid a potential predator in the area," she added.

Roame said a dolphin stampede is a rare occurrence and ever more rare to see so many dolphins do it at once.

"For the lucky passengers and crew onboard who witnessed this magical moment, it was nothing less than breathtaking," she continued.  "We were all screaming in excitement when the dolphins kicked up their speed, and began to stampede."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.