During Thanksgiving Break, I spent more than a few hours on the internet reading stories online. I came across an article on the National Geographic website about pufferfish. When I was younger, I had an Animal Planet video that showed pufferfish blow up to ridiculous proportions, in addition to having a number of other underwater creatures.
I loved watching the pufferfish expand when a predator approached, and I was careful to remember that they were poisonous should I ever come across one while swimming in Hawaii.
Pufferfish are an interesting creature specimen. They are slow-moving, and should be easy prey, however they have extremely flexible stomachs that allow them to swell several times their normal size by swallowing water. In addition, some species of pufferfish have spikes along their spines to make it even more difficult to be eaten. However, once eaten, the predator only has a little time to appreciate the meal before succumbing to the pufferfish’s powerful poison.
In many areas of the world, pufferfish is known as a delicacy. A pufferfish contains a significant amount of tetrodotoxin, a chemical that is 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. A highly-trained, licensed chef is required to cut the meat in a specific way, otherwise it could mean death for the customer. In fact, every year many fall prey (no pun intended) to the danger associated with consuming this type of meat.
The pufferfish itself is a good example of an animal with excellent natural gifts given to help it escape its predators. To this day there are very few species of prey who could kill humans, who some would say are the ultimate predator. Just like sports fans like the Cinderella stories come playoff time, it is always fascinating to watch prey overtake the predator.