Dolphins Get High, Too…Turns Out We Have a Lot in Common with this Sea Mammal

Andrea Izzotti /
Andrea Izzotti /

It’s been said that dolphins are among the closest mammals to humans. While they spend their time underwater and we stand our time on land, the similarities are quite astonishing.

Their brains are highly developed and are capable of communicating with one another.

Years ago, Robin Williams provided commentary about dolphins:

Once you get past the voice impersonations and such, we learn quite a bit – including how dolphins are the only other mammal to have sex for pleasure. All other mammals have sex purely for mating purposes.

A new documentary has explained something else about dolphins. They get high on purpose. Instead of tapping into marijuana, however, they target a specific kind of puffer fish. And with careful manipulation, the fish will release a nerve toxin that will allow dolphins to get high.

The nerve toxin can be deadly if there is too much consumed. However, it seems that dolphins have learned just how much they need to enter a trance-like state. They chew on the puffer and pass it between one another – not unsimilar to the way that a group of friends would pass a joint around.

BBC One has been producing Dolphins: Spy in the Pod. And the behavior has been captured by award-winning document producer John Downer.

A zoologist by the name of Rob Pilley has also been working on the series. He explains, “This was a case of young dolphins purposely experimenting with something we know to be intoxicating.”

He went on, “It reminded us of that craze a few years ago when people started licking toads to get a buzz, especially the way they hung there in a daze afterward. It was the most extraordinary thing to see.”

Who knew?

Now, it’s only a matter of time before animal activists decide that we need to intervene. After all, we can’t just let dolphins get high in the wild, can we? Of course we can, but that’s beside the point.