Dolphin teens get high by chewing pufferfish

A BBC nature documentary crew has captured footage of young dolphins passing around a pufferfish. They characterize the activity as "careful manipulation" and speculate that the dolphins are getting a small dose of the pufferfish's neurotoxin in order to enter a "trance-like state." The documentary was produced by John Downer, a highly nature documentarian, and a zoologist on the crew also confirms the "dolphins get high" hypothesis.

In extraordinary scenes filmed for a new documentary, young dolphins were seen carefully manipulating a certain kind of puffer fish which, if provoked, releases a nerve toxin.

Though large doses of the toxin can be deadly, in small amounts it is known to produce a narcotic effect, and the dolphins appeared to have worked out how to make the fish release just the right amount.

Carefully chewing on the puffer and passing it between one another, the marine mammals then enter what seems to be a trance-like state.

Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around [Adam Withnall/Independent]

(Image: dolphin.JPG, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from robven's photostream)