Dolphins Enjoy Getting High on Puffer Fish Nerve Toxins


Recreational drug use isn’t just for humans any more.

When I was a kid, a police officer came to my school and gave a presentation about the dangers of drug abuse. He taught us how to avoid junkies and drug dealers, but he didn’t even mention the most predatory pusher in the sea: dolphins. I can’t really blame him, though. We’ve only just discovered that dolphins are drug abusers.

A BBC film crew recently captured the incriminating footage using a remote-controlled camera disguised as a sea turtle. In it, several young dolphins can be seen manipulating a puffer fish, which then releases a nerve toxin. Toxins like these can be deadly in large doses, but these dolphins ingest just enough to turn swimming upside down into a spiritual experience.

“After chewing the puffer gently and passing it round,” explains Rob Pilley, a zoologist who is working as a producer on the documentary series, “they began acting most peculiarly, hanging around with their noses at the surface as if fascinated by their own reflection. It reminded us of that craze a few years ago when people started licking toads to get a buzz, especially the way they hung there in a daze afterwards. It was the most extraordinary thing to see.”

The BBC hasn’t released the footage just yet, but the series, which is called Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, will hit British airwaves this week. Though, you’ll have to wait until the second episode.

Suddenly Sea World doesn’t seem quite as wholesome as it once was.

Source: The Independent

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