Adolescent Dolphins Use Pufferfish Toxin To Get High
Amazing footage captured by the BBC shows dolphins using a pufferfish to play catch with, as well as ingesting the toxin in its skin to feel a narcotic effect.
In Spy in the Wild, part of the Planet Earth series, the team follow the group of adolescent male dolphins to see just what they get up to. Having been kicked out of the family by the female dolphins because of their classic teenage boy behaviour, the lads are bombing around the ocean causing some low-level mischief.
To get up close and personal with the dolphins, they drop in 'spy animals' - robots with cameras on them that look like a puffer fish and a turtle.
The gang gave the robot pufferfish a bit of a hard time - and when a real one showed up it became clear why.
Pufferfish skin contains a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. The substance is potentially fatal for humans, but experts say that chewing on the fish's skin can cause the dolphin's to feel light-headed, apparently creating a similar effect to THC.
According to the documentary, in larger doses it could potentially kill the dolphins and this behaviour isn't common.
The dolphins can be seen throwing it in and out of the water, carrying it in their mouths as they swim along.
When they eventually get bored of the game, the pufferfish is seen looking unharmed but disorientated.
According to New Scientist, dolphins aren't the only creatures to use their surroundings to get intoxicated, with more and more research suggesting that it's quite a natural thing to do in the animal world.
In Tasmania, for example, there are reports of wallabies using opium to get high.
According to reports, the country is one of the main producers of poppies which are grown to be used by pharmaceutical companies to make all sorts of opioid based painkillers, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine. They are also used illegally to make heroin.
The wallabies were caught eating the poppies to create a narcotic effect, causing issues in the town.
The attorney general told The Mercury newspaper: "We have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles."
Featured Image Credit: BBC