Many facilities like Addiction Treatment Phoenix AZ were asked a question. While, people can get addicted to certain drugs and alcohol, do animals have the tendency to get addicted too. Let’s explore further to find out if animals do get addicted too.
Documented: Animals found drunk
The internet is full of movies of staggering animals. Above all, the classic film “The Funny World of Animals”, which focuses on the behavior of lions, ostriches, and monkeys after they appear to have nibbled on the fermenting berries of the Merula tree in Africa. The list of drunk and high animals goes even further: Dolphins are said to have been observed several times that carry puffer fish in their mouths and pass around like a joint. The pufferfish contain a high concentration of the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin and secrete it under stress. Tetrodotoxin can be fatal in high doses. It is speculated that the dolphins are trying to get the pufferfish to expel some of the venoms, as this puts the dolphins in a trance-like state.
Alcohol can be dangerous to animals
In 2006, people in Vienna were amazed when waxwings fell from the sky in droves. The birds were examined and it came out: They were totally drunk, completely unfit to fly, and died of a broken neck. The background story: The animals had moved from the bitterly cold taiga to Central Europe, where they had gobbled up overripe grapes and mountain ash berries. In the animals’ stomachs, which are actually used to insect food, the fruit fermented, alcohol was created and made the birds unfit to fly.
From the Australian state of Tasmania, there are repeated reports of intoxicated small kangaroos devastating poppy fields. Apparently, they use the seeds of the opium poppy, get high, and jump in circles until they fall over. In northern Europe, on the other hand, moose and reindeer like to eat psychedelic mushrooms. These have an effect that can be compared to LSD. Shortly after consumption, the animals show intoxicating behavior such as aimless wandering around and a kind of headbanging. They also make strange noises.
And in the UK the hedgehog has a drinking problem. So-called beer traps are to blame, which are set up there by hobby gardeners to keep snails away from vegetables and flowers. Snails are the favorite dish of the hedgehogs, which is why they like to feast on the animals that have died in the barley juice. The consequence: The hedgehogs are not only full but also completely drunk and like to sleep off their intoxication somewhere in the garden without protection.
Much documented, but little researched
In short: intoxicated animals are documented in many ways. But Wolfgang Sommer from the Mannheim Central Institute for Mental Health describes the previous stories in an interview with n-tv.de only as “anecdotal reports”. There is a lot of evidence of staggering moose or dolphins in a state of trance. However, there are no systematic observations on this, says the psychiatrist, who researches the neurobiological, genetic, and behavioral basis of addiction.
Just because animals sometimes consume drugs does not automatically mean that they are addictive, says Sommer. Because in order to develop an addiction, a habit has to be present. In nature, however, natural, psychoactive substances are relatively rare, and they are also not always available. The “chance for the development of fixed drug consumption habits” is therefore low.
In addition, animals cannot afford addictive behavior. Because if they staggered and staggered constantly, they would quickly fall prey to predators, explains the psychiatrist. But why do they then eat toxic substances? “Most animals are curious about how else should they find food when things get tight. They can also come across psychoactive substances,” said Sommer. An addictive behavior that can be equated with that of humans, however, does not occur in the animal kingdom.