DOLPHINS have been filmed using a pufferfish to get high from its deadly poison.
A group of bottlenose dolphins are catching on to this bizarre trend, and have not stopped even after they were apparently exiled from their family pod.
Bottlenose dolphins race each other to get high using one pufferfish[/caption]
Experts noted the animals started ‘acting peculiarly’ after chewing on the fish[/caption]
Footage shows the adolescent dolphins playfully swimming in the sea, tossing the fish between each other as they all take turns to chew on its skin.
Some swim up to the surface before throwing the puffer fish out of the water, as they start to behave in “peculiar” ways.
At one point, the dolphins float near the water’s surface, seeming mesmerised by their reflection.
Pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin that can be fatal if ingested by humans.
Experts have said dolphins may feel “light-headed” after ingesting the poison, as it contains TCH, the main ingredient in marijuana.
But it does have the power to kill animals if they take in too much.
Experts are not sure how long this trend has been going on for.
CAN PUFFER FISH KILL?
Pufferfish have high levels of tetrodotoxin in their livers, skin and reproductive organs.
The toxin is at least 1,200 times more poinsonous than cyanide.
Just one pufferfish has enough poison to wipe out 30 humans.
But thousands across the world still eat it.
In Japan, they call the food fugu.
It is classed as an extremely lavish delicacy, as it takes specially trained chefs to cook it correctly.
They are reqyured to carefully remove traces of the toxin, because even just a trace of the toxin, can prove deadly.
Despite this, 30 to 50 people in Japan, are hospitalised each year due to fugu poisoning.
Rob Pilley, a zoologist previously told the Sunday Times: “This was a case of young dolphins purposely experimenting with something we know to be intoxicating.
“After chewing the puffer gently and passing it round, they began acting most peculiarly, hanging around with their noses at the surface as if fascinated by their own reflection.
“It was the most extraordinary thing to see.”
But one expert questioned how the pufferfish could cause the animals anything but pain.
Christie Wilcox, author of Discover’s Science Sushi blog told ABC News: “The puffer fish’s tetrodotoxin shuts down nerve cells, but it doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier.
“It’s not like recreational drugs that have some effect on the brain, so I find it hard to believe that it would be pleasurable.”
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The video was first shared on the BBC documentary Dolphins: Spy in the Pod.
But it has resurfaced online as more researchers try to investigate how certain animals get high within their surroundings.
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