Young Aussie dolphins caught huffing blowfish to get high


It's not the first time dolphins have been spotted exhibiting this behaviour.

Ms Nicholson told the Mandurah Mail that an earlier BBC documentary, Dolphins - Spy in the Pod, filmed dolphins chewing on a blowfish and playing "pass the puffer around".

Zoologist Rob Pilley, who worked on the documentary, says the pufferfish has a strange effect on the dolphins' behaviour.

"This was a case of young dolphins purposely experimenting with something we know to be intoxicating," Mr Pilley told the Sunday Times.

"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."

Scientists in Australia have found local juvenile dolphins may be using blowfish to get high.

Researchers have observed the youngsters gently chewing the blowfish - also known as pufferfish - which causes them to release a toxin.

The toxin is believed to have a narcotic effect in small doses, which the dolphins may use recreationally to get high. Other scientists believe it numbs the animals.

Murdoch University researcher Krista Nicholson has observed several Australian dolphins with a blowfish habit, including young dolphins mouthing pufferfish in the Leschenault estuary in Western Australia and a juvenile dolphin carrying a pufferfish in the Kimberley.