A new BBC documentary called “Dolphins – Spy in the Pod”, shares the life of three thousand dolphins through images taken by special drones, following dolphin pods, disguised as turtles, squid and tuna.

In over 90 hours of film, scientists were able to once again ascertain how the extraordinary mammals are similar to mankind, not only in intelligence and emotions, but also in the fact that they too have vices.

In one of the scenes some young specimens appear to be “hallucinating” after having played with a particular species of puffer fish: the animals seem to fall into a trance after having breathed the gases emitted by the fish as defence against predators. The dolphins are also filmed as they delicately pass the fish amongst themselves.

It is well-known that the toxins from puffer fish can be lethal for humans if taken in large doses, but if taken in small amounts they produce a narcotic effect.

According to the scientists and as documented by the images, the gas taken by the dolphins gives them a sense of well-being.

Rob Pilley, an internationally renowned zoologist and one of the series’ producers, and John Downer, the director, reject accusations stating that the documentary is false: “It is the first time that dolphins have been filmed while they behaved in this manner. We saw dolphins treating these puffer fish carefully, like they were afraid to scare them too much or kill them.”


11 January 2014