Science Fact Friday: Tetrodotoxin, ft. a small gif because I’m avoiding my real obligations.
Why does tetrodotoxin not affect its host? More studies need to be done but at least a few species possess mutated sodium ion channels. The tetrodotoxin can’t interact efficiently with the altered channels.
Another interesting tidbit: Animals with tetrodotoxin can lose their toxicity in captivity. It is suspected that the animals accumulate the toxic bacteria as a side-effect of their diet. After several years of captivity on a tetrodotoxin-bacteria-free diet, the bacterial colonies living in the animals die, residual toxin is cleared from the system, and the animal is safe to handle.