How does a Pufferfish puff up?

Nearly all Pufferfish contain a toxin that is up to 1200 times stronger than cyanide. The toxin of one Pufferfish can kill up to 30 adult men.

Their ability (common to all Pufferfish) to ingest a huge amount of water, causes them to increase their body size many times over. This in turn allows them to appear to predators as some form of freakish monster-like creature. The fast transformation scares away most predators.

Pufferfish vary in size from the one inch(ish) Dwarf Puffer, to the two foot Giant Freshwater Puffer.

Toxin is not located in all parts of the Pufferfish, and certain cultures are therefore happy to prepare the fish as a delicacy. For example, in Japan the dish is known as Fugu.

However, only specially trained chiefs are able to clean the fish correctly and therefore prepare a toxin-free meal. Any distraction could result in the death of a customer.

Sharks are the only species immune to the Pufferfish toxin. They can eat Pufferfish without consequence.

The most elastic part of their body is skin on the stomach area. When Pufferfish ingest water, the skin on the stomach expands to several times that of its normal size.

The young fish are protected by the hard egg shell that cracks as soon as they are ready to hatch. After leaving the egg, young Pufferfish swim toward the reef's community.

Although some baby Pufferfish cannot be seen without a magnifying glass, their body shape closely resembles that of the adult.

The average lifespan of the Pufferfish is around 10 years.

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