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Dolphins get stoned on puffer fish toxin: BBC film shows dolphins drug seeking?

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Dolphin’s getting stoned, this is the consensus of a new documentary from the BBC called “Dolphins: A Spy in the Pod.” Dolphins get high on puffer fish. It is not like they are eating them as they do the other fish, they actual gently chew them to get the intoxicating toxin the puffer fish releases. They share the puffer fish with other dolphins, according to Discovery Magazine on Dec. 30.

Cameras that were carefully disguised as a sea turtle, seen in the picture to the left. The secret camera actually captured footage of the dolphins that is astounding. It seems that the dolphins use the puffer fish like a drug.

The puffer fish contain a substance that is known to scientists to be intoxicating. They produce this to puff-up when predators are near. The camera showed the dolphins seemingly harassing the puffer fish on purpose so that they puff up with this toxin.

Then the dolphins are seen chewing on the puffer fish and passing it around. They then fall into a trance-like state, exhibiting odd behavior. Dolphins are seen with their noses just at the surface of the water as if they are “fascinated with their own reflection.”

In the footage, the dolphins appear to get high on the toxin they release from the puffer fish when chewing it. If this is the case, this means dolphins are even more like humans than first realized.

One of the producers of the documentary, Rob Pilley, a zoologist said:

“This was a case of young dolphins purposefully experimenting with something we know to be intoxicating.”

Critics aren’t buying this. Christie Wilcox from Discovery Magazine doesn’t believe that dolphins actually have a ritual to get puffer fish puffed up for the soul purpose so they can chew them so they will excrete a toxin that gets them high. It is not absolute evidence of drug seeking behavior in dolphins, claims the critics today.

Whether the dolphins are doing this on purpose or not, getting high on the substance is a strange presentation. People drug seek, why not dolphins?

You can catch the BBC documentary "Dolphin: Spy In the Pod" on Thursday, January 2 at 8.00-9.00pm on BBC ONE.

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