Dolphins getting high on puffer fish?

Comment on this story
iol scitech dec 30 dolphins high YouTube.com The footage is from an upcoming BBC1 show, called Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, by wildlife filmmaker John Downer.

London - Dolphins are said to share the human traits of bravery, jealousy and even a sense of humour.

But it seems they share some worrying vices as well.

Scientists were amazed at footage of the mammals apparently getting “high” with the help of a toxic puffer fish. In an extraordinary scene filmed for a new TV series, the dolphins are shown gently passing the fish around between them.

Experts believe the creatures are using the toxins, which emerge from the puffer fish as part of its defence mechanism, for their own enjoyment.

They nudge the fish with their snouts and as the toxin is released into the water, they seem to lapse into a trance-like state.

At one point the dolphins are seen floating just underneath the water’s surface, apparently mesmerised by their own reflections.

The dolphins were filmed gently playing with the puffer, passing it between each other for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, unlike the fish they had caught as prey which were swiftly torn apart.

The footage is from an upcoming BBC1 show, called Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, by wildlife filmmaker John Downer – who has previously used hidden cameras to bring the secrets of penguin colonies to television screens.

Mr Downer designed underwater cameras disguised as squid, tuna and even other dolphins.

Zoologist and series producer Rob Pilley said that it was the first time dolphins had been filmed behaving this way.

He added: “We saw the dolphins handle the puffers with kid gloves, very gently and delicately like they were almost milking them to not upset the fish too much or kill it.

“As a result the fish released various toxins as a defence. The dolphins then seemed to be mesmerised.” He insisted that the scene couldn’t have been a one-off encounter, saying: “The dolphins were specifically going for the puffers and deliberately handling them with care.” - Daily Mail

Hungry for more scitech news? Sign up for our daily newsletter



sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.