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)

Notable Replies

  1. Impossible. Wouldn't they have to build lots more dolphin prisons?

  2. Passing Puffers is likely a gateway to squishing squids... I hope I'm wrong about this

  3. Marya says:

    The more people howl about Drugs being especially bad for the young brain, the more I can't help but notice that those are exactly the brains that crave the experience of being high.
    Hell a five year old wants you to spin her around and around until she falls over dizzy & shrieking with laughter. Try that yourself and see how it suits you, old man?

    Now we have further proof from our big brained brethren of the sea. What's the point of having a all these growing neural connections, if you can't play with them.

  4. It's just youthful experimentation, like touching another boy's blowhole at summer camp.

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