15 Facts about Pufferfish & How to Overcome Pufferfish Poisoning

Pufferfish Facts – When it comes to marine fish, it seems almost endless because there are so many types of sea fish. In fact, some sea fish can be used as ornamental fish and also consumed.

Does Sinaumed’s already know what puffer fish is? Pufferfish are often said or known by many people as fish that can expand.

In addition, puffer fish are among the tens of thousands of types of fish that we can find in the ocean. Initially this fish may look mediocre. However, don’t try to interfere. If threatened, this fish can develop itself and release toxins that cause death, Sinaumed’s.

On the other hand, pufferfish are animals that have unique visuals. His body is inflated like a bundle or like a balloon. This fish is often called balloon fish or globefish.

The uniqueness of this puffer fish lies in its organs and skin which contain poison. It is even believed to be the most poisonous vertebrate in the world after the golden poison frog. Even though it is poisonous, this fish is in several restaurants in Japan, Korea and China which serve this puffer fish as a food menu for guests.

In Japan, for example, this puffer meat dish is called fugu. Fugu should be cooked by a cook who knows which parts of the body can be treated and which are poisonous. So, it can be said that puffer fish should not be carelessly cooked at home.

The habitat of this puffer fish is generally in the sea, but there are also fresh water puffer fish. There are various species of this fish, but most live in temperate waters and not in cold waters.

Pufferfish also have a long, tapered body with a round head. Some species have bright colors to “inform” the poison they have. Therefore, we should not handle puffer fish carelessly.

However, there are also pufferfish with a pale or faint color to blend in with their surroundings. They are scaleless fish and usually have a rough to spiky skin. All of them have four teeth fused into a beak-like shape.



15 Pufferfish Facts

Curious about these puffer fish facts? Let’s look at the facts about puffer fish.

1. There are more than 100 species of pufferfish

Pufferfish is a fish that belongs to the family Tetraodontidae . This fish can be found in both saltwater and fresh water, such as the Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mekong River and the Amazon River. The puffer fish has a long, tapered body, a round head, protruding lips and a large belly.

This puffer fish has no scales, but some have thorns. This fish has the ability to change direction while swimming and even in swimming backwards. In addition, this pufferfish has more than 100 species, such as fahaka pufferfish, tiger pufferfish, pygmy pufferfish, green spotted pufferfish, and so on.

2. Can grow to a length of four feet

The largest known pufferfish can grow to be up to four feet long or about 47 inches. Their length can be known to exceed baby crocodiles. With this length, pufferfish are found in Australia, Japan and Africa.

Meanwhile, for the smallest size of this fish is less than one inch and can be found around Southwest India. Despite their small size, they have a prominent uniqueness, namely they can choose to be male or female.

3. Has the ability to inflate itself three times the size of the body when threatened

Because the pufferfish is slow moving and brightly colored, it makes it easy for other predators to eat it. To overcome this, the puffer fish will inflate itself by taking air from the stomach up to three times its body size

In addition, puffer fish can show their thorns, so they don’t become food for predators. This is what makes puffer fish or in English puffer fish, blowfish, balloonfish, globefish or toadfish not easily preyed upon by predators.

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4. One of the most poisonous animals in the world

Pufferfish is a poisonous animal. When threatened, the pufferfish puffs up and releases a toxin from its skin known as Tetrodotoxin or TTX, a chemical that is 100 times more toxic than cyanide.

By consuming around 1-4 milligrams of pure tetrodotoxin poison , it is already fatal for humans. Pufferfish poisoning can cause nausea and vomiting. In Japan, some cases of food poisoning are known to originate from consumption of puffer fish, and some cases even lead to death.

In addition, the puffer fish can secrete enough poison in its liver to kill 30 adults. Anyone exposed to this poison will experience numbness, muscle paralysis, dizziness, heart failure and death. No wonder this fish is the second most poisonous animal in the world.

5. Pufferfish can build nests

Pufferfish that have white spots actually have a unique habit of building nests. Male puffer fish make nests in the sand that are round and six feet in diameter. Their purpose in making nests is to attract the female’s attention. Usually if the female fish impresses, they will lay their eggs in the nest, so that the male fish can fertilize them.

In addition, male pufferfish also make nests for different purposes. They make nests from their sperm to protect themselves from predators. The foul smell of sperm will keep predators from approaching it.

6. Pufferfish teeth continue to grow

Pufferfish actually have four teeth. Two upper teeth and two lower teeth, and they are fused together, so it looks like one big tooth. Even at a glance, the pufferfish’s teeth look like those of a mouse.

But in fact, the teeth of these puffer fish are constantly growing, so to keep them short they use their teeth to open shells, eat coral or algae and fish on the ocean floor.

7. Pufferfish is a delicacy in Japan

Even though it is poisonous, puffer fish is one of the delicious dishes in Japan, you know . This dish made from puffer fish is called Fugu. However, this dish should only be prepared by trained chefs who have years of work experience.

This needs to be done so that the poison in the puffer fish does not poison our bodies. Therefore, the toxic organs in puffer fish must be removed and cooked properly.

Even though it is a fish that has deadly poison, this fish can still be consumed. However, keep in mind that managing this fish must have a special technique so as not to cause poisoning and death.

8. Pufferfish food

Most of the pufferfish diet includes invertebrates and algae. They can also eat clams and mussels with their hard beaks. Poisonous puffer fish are believed to synthesize their lethal venom from bacteria in the animals they eat.

Currently, several species of pufferfish are considered vulnerable due to pollution, loss of habitat and overfishing. However, most of the population is still considered stable.

9. Able to change color

Pufferfish are able to change their body color with brightness. The brightness sometimes looks brighter and sometimes looks darker. This uniqueness reacts when in the conditions that exist around the fish.

10. Poison does not disappear even though it is cooked

Another fact about puffer fish is that the tetrodotoxin poison contained in it will not disappear even if it has been cooked or frozen. If it is not processed properly, poison from the puffer fish’s organs can spread and be absorbed into the meat.

If someone is poisoned by consuming puffer fish, then there are 4 stages of symptoms experienced by that person, namely:

  • Symptoms of puffer fish poisoning in stage 1 are the area around the mouth feeling numb or numb. These symptoms can be accompanied by digestive disorders, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea. These symptoms usually appear 10-45 minutes after consuming puffer fish.
  • The next symptoms of pufferfish poisoning are numbness in the face, slurred speech or slurred speech, loss of balance, and feeling weak or unable to move.
  • This third stage, puffer fish poisoning will make the body paralyzed or unable to move at all, unable to speak, respiratory failure and dilated pupils.
  • The final stage is severe respiratory failure, decreased oxygen levels in the body (hypoxia), the heart beats slower than usual (bradycardia), decreased blood pressure (hypotension), impaired heart rhythm and decreased consciousness.

Symptoms of puffer fish poisoning can appear within 2 to 3 hours after the puffer fish poison enters the body. In some cases, symptoms of poisoning even appear after 20 hours of consuming puffer fish.

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If you don’t get treatment quickly, people who experience food poisoning due to tetrodoxin can die within about 4-6 hours after consuming puffer fish.

11. Must be cleaned carefully before consumption

Tetrodotoxin poison is stored in the liver, genital glands and skin of puffer fish. In order for puffer fish to be safe for consumption, the organs containing the poison must be removed using a special technique so that the fish meat is not contaminated.

Therefore, puffer fish is generally not recommended for consumption at home. This fish may be served in special restaurants, and prepared by chefs who have expertise in processing puffer fish.

12. There is a species of freshwater pufferfish

The famous freshwater pufferfish is the spotted green puffer. Sometimes, this fish is referred to as the spotted puffer fish. This type of fish has a greenish color with a dotted pattern. This bloated fish lives in the rivers of Kalimantan and Sumatra.

In addition, freshwater pufferfish can also be found in streams throughout Southeast Asia, parts of India and Bangladesh, the Amazon basin in South America, the Congo Nile and other rivers in Africa.

Several species live in open water, but most are found along river banks among submerged plants. They live in tropical and temperate climates.

13. A slow but deadly fish

Even though they use fins to help them swim, this type of fish is famous for its slow movements. However, they have other methods of deterring or overpowering predators to catch them. Such as the following:

  • Excellent eye vision, helps find food or detect predators early.
  • Using the energy they can muster to swim quickly away from predators.
  • If this type of fish cannot escape, they do so by swallowing large amounts of water to enlarge themselves.
  • Their spines will make them difficult for predators to swallow, so they will get stuck in the throat.
  • Even if a predator manages to eat this type of fish, it may die from the poison in the puffer fish’s body.

14. Separate from other fish species

Freshwater pufferfish can be predators of other fish and some are downright aggressive. However, some other species, such as Dwarf, Redeye and Golden Puffers can be kept with fast moving fish such as danios. In addition, puffer fish, such as Mekong, Nile and Mbu Puffers must be kept secret and separated from other ornamental fish as much as possible.

For some fresh water puffers must have their own tank, so there is no drowning or death. So, it is always advisable to consult with an aquarium professional before buying this type of fish.

15. Need maintenance from an experienced owner

This type of fish is not an ideal fish for new fish owners or fish owners who will just try to keep it. This puffer fish requires the best water quality, lots of space and a good diet.

Also, if you have an idea of ​​a fish tank stocked with all species, this pufferfish may not be correct. This type of fish will eat other fish that are small enough or they will bite the fins of other fish if they are too big to eat.

However, if the pufferfish are very small they will likely starve because they are too small to compete with the better and faster swimmers in the tank.

Well, for Sinaumed’s who have experience in raising fish intensively, they will definitely like this fish. Because a puffer fish, if kept in an ideal environment can live up to ten years, you know Sinaumed’s.



How to Overcome Puffer Fish Poisoning

Until now, no drug has been found that can be used to treat tetrodoxin poisoning caused by consuming puffer fish. However, people who experience fish poisoning must immediately get medical help at the hospital.

At the hospital, the doctor will perform the following procedures for patients who have puffer fish poisoning:

  • Providing oxygen through breathing apparatus, for example, such as a ventilator. If the patient is unable to breathe spontaneously.
  • Perform gastric emptying procedures to remove puffer fish poison from the body.
  • Give activated charcoal liquid or tablets to clean the stomach.
  • Do dialysis, especially if the patient has kidney disease.

After knowing some facts about puffer fish, it is advisable to eat this dish at restaurants that have puffer fish processing permits so that safety is maintained.

However, if people around us experience poisoning after consuming puffer fish, immediately go to the nearest hospital to get fast and proper treatment from a doctor. The sooner treatment is done, the greater the chance for recovery.

Sinaumed’s, that’s information about pufferfish facts. Hopefully we are not exposed to poison in consuming these fish and of course you always have to be careful. So, which books aren’t on the bookshelf right now, Sinaumed’s?