Shockingly, it does appear that dolphins use pufferfish to get high, humans aren’t the only ones with substance abuse problems!
Yes, as weird as it seems, dolphins use pufferfish as a sort of aquatic recreational drug. This seems outlandish, but i’ll explain how we know shortly. Before that, lets give a quick rundown of dolphins.
Dolphins in a nut shell
Dolphins are quite an adorable animal but also surprisingly smart! They are actually the third smartest animal, just behind orangutans at number two and of course humans at number one. That being said, i would bet that dolphins use significantly more brain power than i do when trying to label a world map!
Another way dolphins are similar to humans is there ability to sprint at very fast speeds but only for short periods. Generally, dolphins use a pretty slow swimming pace of only two miles per hour. However, they are able of travelling at a whopping thirty miles per hour in short bursts! For reference, Usain Bolt’s top speed is about twenty seven miles per hour – eat your heart out Bolt!
In case you’ve never seen a fish skeleton, their spines are very spindly and could easily get jammed up and cause cuts if eaten incorrectly. That’s why dolphins will eat fish head first, to ensure smooth passage and easy digestion – so clever!
Adding on to dolphins remarkable intelligence, they also use tools! They are among only a small group of animals that does this. They will fit marine sponges around their mouths to add some protection from sharp rocks when they’re digging around for fish. Dolphins are also similar to humans and apes in the way they are able to recognize their own reflection. This is a fascinating feat of intelligence and highlights how brilliant dolphins are.
Dolphins and pufferfish
Okay, okay, now on to the reason you’re here. Dolphins using pufferfish to get high. I know that doesn’t make any sense and isn’t particularly believable, but stick with me.
Typically when a dolphin or pod of dolphins catches a fish, they will swiftly tear it apart and eat it. They waste no time in consuming their prey.
However, scientists have observed a group of the clever cetacea catching pufferfish and they don’t tear them apart and gobble them down like an oceanic big bad wolf would to a fishy grandma. They instead throw the pufferish around above the surface, holding it in their mouths and passing it back and forth amongst themselves. This seems like a very strange thing to do until you remember that pufferfish are incredibly toxic and would kill the poor animals if they ate it. But that begs the question; why do they bother catching it?
Well, the poison that the pufferfish produce is of course fatal in large enough quantities – such as those that would be consumed if the fish was eaten. However, in smaller quantities, it has a calming, sedative effect. That seems to be why they engage in this strange behaviour.
After tossing the pufferfish around for a while, they were observed just floating around near the surface staring at their own reflections.
In other words, the dolphins used the pufferfish to get high!
Animal-Club provides animal parties or animal handling workshops. You will be able to see, learn and interact with many wonderful animals with the help of our presenters. Our mobile zoo has many friendly animals such as rabbits, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons and more, perfect for an animal party. We can also come over to your school for an animal school visit or arrange for an animal workshop with us where the children can learn about looking after animals and animal behaviour, and have fun too.