Take a look at the fish in the video above.
Adorable, isn’t it? If you’ve never seen one before, that’s actually a puffer fish–which gets its name for its ability to basically inflate into a ball and scare predators away. Like so:
Even though they can look pretty adorable, make one wrong move and a puffer fish will freaking kill you.
We’re not kidding. Puffer fish are toxic. Like, super toxic. Like, 1,200-times-more-poisonous-than-cyanide toxic. This is because the fish contain something called tetrodotoxin, which is an ingenious evolutionary feat of engineering that makes the puffer fish foul tasting to predators and totally toxic to just about anything unfortunate enough to consume one.
Shockingly, however, that doesn’t stop humans from eating them. The meat from some puffer fish is actually considered a delicacy in parts of the world like Japan, and the fish have to be prepared by specially-trained chefs. If these workers make even one mistake during the preparation, the customer will almost surely die. The BBC reports that since 2000, there have been 23 recorded deaths in Japan alone which have been attributed to fugu (the name of the dish we’re referring to).
That’s why we prefer to just look at puffer fish, which you can do (safely) in the video above.