Recently I was doing research for a story set near water, and stumbled across the pink river dolphin as part of that research. I didn’t use the dolphin in the story, but I’d like to share the find.
Boto / Amazonian Pink River Dolphin
The bufeo colorado or boto, is a real creature of the Amazon river, but there are indigenous legends attached to it. The bufeo colorado is reputed to be a shape shifter, whose alternate form is that of a handsome man. The dolphin’s reputation differs by location. In some places it is considered bad luck to kill one, but in others that the dolphin will steal women and children from their villages.
The most famous story of the bufeo colorado recounts the tale of a woman, who is enchanted by a man she meets in the river. She falls in love with him, and asks permission to marry him, but every morning her lover disappears. Only when she becomes pregnant with a half-dolphin baby, does she discover that her lover is really the bufeo colorado.
- Amazon Legends: The Pink Dolphin – Folktale
- Jungle Folklore – Peruvian Amazon Rainforest – Info on alternate endings to the folktale
- Stories from the River – More superstitions
Related Creatures: Mermaid/merman, werewolf, shape shifter
Region of Origin: South America, Amazon river