Dolphins are said to share the human traits of bravery, jealousy and even a sense of humor. But it seems they share some 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 an upcoming BBC show called Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, by wildlife filmmaker John Downer, the dolphins are shown gently passing the fish between them.
Experts believe the creatures are using the toxins, which emerge from the puffer fish as part of its defense 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 mesmerized by their own reflections.
Toxic trance: The footage, captured in the TV series Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, shows the dolphins deliberately putting the puffer fish in their mouths (left) and afterward, appearing intoxicated hanging near the surface (right)
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.
Mr. Downer designed underwater cameras disguised as squid, tuna and even other dolphins.
Fun-loving fish: The dolphins were filmed watching their reflections just below the surface in the series which used cameras disguised as sea creatures including a dolphin to get a glimpse of the mysterious life of the mammal
Zoologist and series producer Rob Pilley said that it was the first time dolphins had been filmed behaving this way.
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 defense.
The dolphins then seemed to be mesmerized.
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.”