Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

After asking If I lived in space, could I have a dolphin for a pet? and doing some research for an answer to Can fish really live in microgravity without water?, it seems like one of the key points to have a dolphin in space would be litter box training.

So is there research or indication that indicates a dolphin can be trained where to perform toilet functions?

Edit to clarify The main considerations here.

  1. Are dolphins trainable?
  2. Do dolphins have voluntary control of the bowel and bladder?

Horse for example like many grazing animals have little voluntary control over their bowels, so while highly trainable, reliable house training is not practical.

share|improve this question
A better question would be how to maintain an air/water interface in zero gravity (which would fall under space exploration rather than biology), which is arguably a more significant issue than fouling the water. –  kmm Aug 15 '13 at 1:44
-1. This question is unlikely to get a reasonable, well supported, answer. Are you asking whether dolphins have the cognitive ability to be trained? Biologically speaking they can be trained to perform in a certain way, much like dogs. Logistically though training a dolphin to use a litter box appears so complex, and so unnecessary, it is unlikely to ever be attempted. & in reference to your Q on space exploration SE, it wouldn't be able to swim - a dolphin uses the resistance, given by the water and generated when it moves it's tail, to propel itself forward. –  GriffinEvo Aug 15 '13 at 8:10
This question is brilliant and original, but I fear this may be the wrong forum for it. –  Good Gravy Aug 15 '13 at 8:34
@GriffinEvo, I have edited to clarify. If the answer to both main considerations is yes, then it reasonable to assume that the answer to my question is yes. If either is no, then the answer to my question is no. Both of these should be in the realm of current research to identify. –  James Jenkins Aug 15 '13 at 9:23
Although I think that the question is borderline to opinion-based (& maybe off-topic), it should be answerable from a biological viewpoint with the clarifications. If we currently have the knowledge is another topic. However, personally, I would restructure the question with the general issues at the top (trainability/domestication/bladder control of dolphins) and the dolphin-in-space part as an example/motivation. –  fileunderwater Aug 15 '13 at 17:15
show 1 more comment

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.