Food sharing is a fairly common behavior among animals of the same species, but it is a much rarer phenomenon between animals that are from different species. Perhaps one of the best known examples of inter-species food sharing occurs in domesticated cats that have a tendency to drop prey items at their owner’s feet. Inter-species food sharing in wild animal populations has not been widely documented in the scientific literature.

There has been one observation of inter-species food sharing in false killer whales, a member of the dolphin family (Delphinidae). During an encounter that National Geographic photographer Flip Nicklin had in Hawaii, a false killer whale swam up to the photographer, released a large mahi mahi from its mouth and backed away. The photographer accepted the gift then, returned the fish to the whale. I suppose that is proper etiquette if a large cetacean offers you food while you’re in the water with it.