Did you know pufferfish, although extremely cute, are also extremely poisonous? Pufferfish, as well as several related fish, contain tetrodotoxin, one of the most toxic poisons found in nature, 1,200 times more toxic than cyanide. One pufferfish can contain enough of this toxin to kill 30 adult humans.
In case you aren't familiar with pufferfish, they are those cute, pudgy fish that blow up like a water balloon when threatened. Their shape makes them rather sluggish swimmers, so they are vulnerable to predators. At least they would be if it weren't for their inflatable ability and the tetrodotoxin in their bodies. If a predator grabs a pufferfish, the pufferfish will inflate and become difficult or even impossible to swallow. If the predator manages to grab the pufferfish before it inflates, the predator will probably soon regret its mistake when the toxin kicks in. Not only does the toxin taste really bad, it is deadly to other fish. So, if you think about it, when the pufferfish inflates and becomes impossible to swallow, it not only saves its own life, it also saves the predator's life.
Surprisingly, pufferfish meat is a very expensive delicacy in Japan, where the meat is called fugu. It is only prepared in certain restaurants by trained and certified chefs, who understand that making one wrong cut on the fish could be deadly to their customers.
In spite of this, more than 100 people die each year from eating improperly prepared pufferfish. In many restaurants, the sushi chefs are required to taste the fugu they have prepared before serving it to customers.
- Green-spotted pufferfish - DepositPhotos
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