back to article High tides: Boffins spy on dolphins baked on poisonous piscines

Scientists in Australia have observed groups of dolphins sharing around a blowfish and getting out of their skulls on the toxins they produce. The mad-for-it mammals were seen taking an unusual interest in blowfish by the Mandurah Dolphin Research Project in Western Australia. The fish produces a toxin called tetrodotoxin, …

  1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Not new, AFAIK

    I'm pretty sure that I remember seeing reports of this before. Either that or it happened to me once (allegedly).

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Not new, AFAIK

      Agreed pretty sure I have actually seen film of it. I think a beeb wildlife prog.

    2. TheDillinquent

      Re: Not new, AFAIK

      Hey Frumious, If you'd bothered to read the article rather than just trolling you would have seen this paragraph:-

      "In a BBC documentary Dolphins – Spy in the Pod, underwater camera crews filmed pods of dolphins chewing on the fish and playing “pass the puffer around,” according to Krista Nicholson, a PhD student at Murdoch University. It appears to be evidence of recreational drug use by dolphins."

  2. Curtis

    I'll get my coat

    Puff, Puff, Pass?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: I'll get my coat

      Looks like they were having a whale of a time...

      Nearest animal ->

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: I'll get my coat

      "Pass the puffer to the left-hand side"....

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Oh Homer
    Paris Hilton

    Junkie dolphins?

    What next, drunk parrots?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Junkie dolphins?

      The robins are getting plastered on pyracantha berries here in Sonoma at the moment.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Junkie dolphins?

        Butterflies have been known to settle on fermented fruit, get drunk and fight.

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Next, puff the magic (sea) dragon !!!!

  5. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Further study required!

    We need to develop salt-water toads, so we can see if the dolphins go in for toad-licking.

    (BTW, I could have done without the tales of reindeer-herders drinking deer piss. But I suppose it's about the same as them breaking out a case of Bud Light after a hard day's herding.)

    1. willi0000000

      Re: Further study required!

      bud light ain't that good.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Further study required!

        The likes of "bud light", et alia, are really a tribute to modern manufacturing capability. They are preserved water, no more, and no less. When consumed young, and unmolested, they have no off-flavo(u)rs, and taste the same all over the world (assuming proper storage ... methal mercaptin isn't exactly tasty ...).

        Trying to re-create such a thing at home is a serious test of a home-brewer's skill. Don't believe me? Try it. Water, barley, rice, yeast & hops ... how hard can it be? :-)

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Further study required!

          I brew a lot of my own beer but I have yet to fuck up as badly as Anheuser-Busch. They have no off-flavours because they have no on-flavours which is why they are served cold - its kept in the fridge to stop taste forming not methal mercaptin.

          1. Palpy

            Re: Further splellings rekwired

            Please, my faith in the erudition of El Reg commentards is being eroded. This is the second misplelling in the thread: it's methyl mercaptan, with a y and an a. Thank you, and I regret being a picky barstid.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Further splellings rekwired

              It's a typo I always make. Dunno why. Mea culpa.

              In future I'll just call it methanethiol. If I remember.

    2. 8Ace

      Re: Further study required!

      Bud Lite vs making love in a rowing boat .......

      ......They are both fucking close to water

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Further study required!

        Older-than-the-hills joke aside, you are quite correct, BAce. But then that's exactly what it is supposed to be. What else would you expect from a very light, low alcohol lager? It's not exactly brewed to look/feel/taste like Old Peculiar, now is it?

        To those of you who claim it tastes like horse piss or whathaveyou, taste it again. Get a sample that is less than a month past it's "born on date" (it is aged at the brewery, and is built to be consumed young), and one that hasn't spent a lot of time fluctuating between hot & cold. I'm serious. A properly stored glass of BudLight has no phenolics, esters, sulphides, tannins, the afore mentioned "skunk", etc. It tastes of yeast (barely), malt (barely), and hops (kinda, if you squint), and little else. There is no after-taste to speak of, and no sticky mouth feel.

        No, I don't work for A/B, nor do I own stock. Just trying to open a few closed minds. I'm probably tilting at windmills again. Whatever.

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Further study required!

          "It tastes of yeast (barely), malt (barely), and hops (kinda, if you squint), and little else."

          Which is why some don't like it - it's water with just enough 'additives' in it to turn it yellow (hence the comparison) and not a lot else.

          It's because it doesn't really taste of anything, not because it tastes literally like animal liquid by-products

        2. Unicornpiss Silver badge

          Re: Further study required!

          I wouldn't say that Bud Light is that awful. I've certainly drunk it many times. It's actually fairly well balanced, if lacking in flavor and potency. But there are so many better choices out there. So unless it's free and/or all there is available, why waste your time on it?

      2. Oh Homer

        Could be worse

        Could be Tesco Everyday Value Lager (i.e. "water that is yellow in colour and tastes a little of barley").


    3. EddieD

      Re: Further study required!

      The Aztecs (or Mayans, or Incas...I'm a wee bit nebulous on which is which) did the same trick involving peyote and psylocibin but used a dog - they high priests drank dog urine, the lesser priests the high priests, and so on and so forth.

      Certainly for the reindeer trick, it has important survival implications - whilst Amanita Muscaria isn't poisonous itself, other Amanita species are, and look similar. If the reindeer survived, the shaman had a better chance of not being terminally blitzed.

      1. Sweep

        Re: Further study required!

        None of the poisonous Amanitas look anything like A. muscaria. I would expect the Sami to be perfectly capable of identifying poisonous mushrooms anyway.

        I would really like to know what the first shaman to get high on reindeer piss was actually expecting to happen though...

        And did the lesser priests also become high priests after drinking the high priests' high piss?

      2. Sweep

        Re: Further study required!

        Actually, the more I think about this the less sense it makes (the Aztecs drinking dogs' piss)- I can see the point with shamans drinking reindeer piss- "oh look that reindeer is wasted, quick, get a bucket!" as the reindeer are more likely to find the mushrooms before the reindeer herders....but why would you intentionally force feed perfectly edible (yes I know they taste horrible but they're more palatable than fucking dogs' piss) cactus and mushrooms to dogs?

        1. patrickstar

          Re: Further study required!

          A. muscaria is reasonably tasty actually, if somewhat bland. Not the tastiest thing around, but certainly not terrible by any means.

    4. User McUser

      Re: Further study required!

      (BTW, I could have done without the tales of reindeer-herders drinking deer piss. But I suppose it's about the same as them breaking out a case of Bud Light after a hard day's herding.)

      Plus deer piss is cheaper because you can get it from under a buck.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    as do the humans that herd them,who get off by collecting the deer's urine

    Well this sounds like BS to me but then

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That explains the thanks for all the fish.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many fruit eating animals get drunk when the fruit has reached the stage of fermentation.

    Whether they then acquire a specific taste for it is an interesting point. Most animals learn to avoid something that produces ill effects. If they keep going back for more then they are either desperate or they know what they like despite the consequences.

    It is said that motion sickness is an intrinsic response that evolved to handle the unintentional eating of some plants. Reality and sensory perception diverging is a good indicator of the effects of an alkaloid toxin that protects the plant.

    1. Extra spicey vindaloo

      The drunk swedish moose.,d.ZGg

  9. Chris King Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Not surprising really

    So, we can add "addiction to recreational drugs" to this list.

    Apparently, they're STD-riddled, sex-mad killing machines that will quite happily get jiggy with passing humans, murder their own young and play volleyball with baby sharks. Don't even get me started on reason #10.

    I remember being forced to watch a video telling me that we should all behave more like dolphins ("Dolphins work in teams" yadda yadda yadda), and it was about the time some of this stuff first came out.

    Asking the "motivational" speaker if we should also kill porpoises and take bites out of colleagues if we're feeling hungry didn't go down very well for some reason.

    Icon, because the dolphins' behaviour isn't all that different.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      "So, we can add "addiction to recreational drugs" to this list."


      If you always thought Flipper was just good dolphin PR.

      Now this is real apex predator behavior is all about.

    2. Spoobistle

      Re: Not surprising really

      My favourite comment on the dolphin-hugging claptrap was supposedly from Margaret Klinowska, who when asked why the angelic creatures saved so many drowning people by pushing them in to shore, replied that we just didn't hear from the people they pushed out to sea and drowned....

      Never hold nature up as a moral example, you're bound to end up looking stupid.

  10. Anonymous Blowhard

    Seems like it's the Mammals

    Long-haired good-for-nothings; the planet's been going downhill since the start of the Cenozoic Era!

  11. hatti

    According to one dolphin

    I mouthed the blowfish but I did not inhale.

  12. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    A little late...

    The TV program was already on- two weeks ago...

  13. FlossyThePig

    La piscine?

    I may have visited France too many times but my initial image was strange swimming pools.

  14. AndrueC Silver badge

    My budgie used to like drinking whisky. Possibly. Least-wise he used to keep flying over when I was drinking it and taking a taste. He'd then throw half of it out of his mouth like it was poison and fly off. It wouldn't stop him coming back for more though.

    I don't know if it ever had any effect on him. I'm not sure there's much difference in behaviour between a drunk and a sober budgerigar.

    1. Triggerfish

      My friends mutt, used to wander down to the beach and help itself to leftover cocktails and beers some evenings. It also ate the marijuana plant he was growing in his back garden, then pretty much did fuck all for a day.

      1. Baldy50

        Aylesbury duck...

        A rescue again used to come into the house like it owned it! Well, a lack of tables etc meant a lot of drinks were on the floor this night and the door had been left open for the smokers, so if you think ducks have a funny walk you need to see one pissed, it would make your day.

        Talking about dangerous flying shit, I wouldn't want to be walking down the sidewalk when this fecker lands, mincemeat!

  15. Spaceman Spiff

    In Europe Amanita Muscaria (magic mushrooms - orange with white spots) are deadly. In Colorado, USA they are a great high! We used to have some great shroom parties up in Breckenridge when I was living there in the late 1960's. We'd all go to the local bar & grill and get the "special" burger with mushrooms! At that time, all of that was totally legal! Hey John! One special mushroom burger and a bottle of beer!

    1. patrickstar

      If they are orange then they are Amanita pantherina, not muscaria, which is a nice deep bright red.

      They contain the same stuff (muscimol and ibotenic acid) though I've seen claims that muscaria has a better ratio between the stuff that gets you high and the stuff that gets you nauseous.

      As to them being deadly - the safety margin is around 1:10 or so, but the concentration can differ a lot between mushrooms so you need to start out small. Maybe that's the reason for drinking animal piss instead of eating the mushrooms directly - that would quite possibly yield a more consistent strength than the mushrooms themselves.

      The effects are nothing like what's normally known as magic mushrooms - i.e. psilocybin.

  16. MT Field

    If I remember correctly Amanita Muscaria are the classic red with white spots things that are hallucinogenic but also deadly, where the dose for one effect is too close to the other to make them a good choice for those wishing to find their soulmate after talking to a space coyote.

    Psylocybin are the mushroom of choice here in the UK, if you can find some the deer haven't got to first.

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Finding your Spirit Animal/Space Coyote/whatever

      "Psylocybin are the mushroom of choice here in the UK, if you can find some the deer haven't got to first"

      It must be pretty rough on the poor deer, finding out that their "Spirit Human" is Gerald in Accounts.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Finding your Spirit Animal/Space Coyote/whatever

        Oh deer...

  17. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Wasn't there an old '60's song for this?

    "Don't bogart that blowfish my friend, pass it over to meeeeeee..... you've been hanging on to it, and I sure would like a hit."

  18. Chris King Silver badge

    I suppose we'd look smug too...

    ...if we could gargle venom and not die.

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