Animals consume alcohol from natural sources and are seen to get drunk. These are mainly fermented fruits and other substances that are available in nature. Animals behaves differently when they are drunk, sometimes it looks strange and sometimes it even looks funny. However some animals are more affected from consuming alcohol compared to others so here is the list of 25 animals that gets drunk and gets high
So, what are some of the animals that gets drunk and gets high? Out of the list of 25 these 7 are very common and seen quite often.
- Slow Loris
- Tree Shrew
These 7 animals are often seen getting drunk that being said other animals also gets drunk but not as often.
Read these article to know the full list and know about these animals.
Intake of ethanol or alcohol leads to alcohol intoxication or drunkenness! Symptoms for a lower level of drunkenness is poor co-ordination and mild sedation. As more alcohol gets consumed, speech gets slurred, trouble walking straight, and in some cases, vomiting. Extreme intake includes respiratory difficulty, coma, and even death.
Ethanol is metabolized to acetaldehyde by the alcohol dehydrogenase, which gets found in many tissues and the liver. The ethanol content acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. More alcohol content in the blood-stream, adds further stress on your system and following are the stages one progresses, while getting drunk:
- Euphoria and impaired co-ordination.
- Poor judgment.
- Slurred speech, nausea, and vomiting.
- Respiratory problems.
- Due to lack of oxygen, the skin is pale, bluish, and clammy.
- Sleepy and in a stupor.
Do Animals Get Drunk?
When ripe or over-ripe fruits ferment, they turn into alcohol, since their natural sugars convert to ethanol. Microscopic fungi known as yeast reacts with sugar present in the fruits, to chemically change the compound to ethanol, which we know as alcohol. All fruit-eating birds, animals, reptiles, and insects use the smell of ethanol to locate ripe fruits.
When smaller animals and birds eat these fruits, their small liver gets immediately effected. You would see them be intoxicated, disoriented, and funny.
The larger animals may not get so easily affected unless they have consumed the fruit turned alcohol in large quantities.
Some animals avoid eating such food, even though any alternate source is scarce. While there are others, who like to get drunk and hence consume the fermented fruits, some get affected by the alcohol, while others don’t show any signs of being tipsy.
Lots of research is underway to unravel this mystery. Here, we shall discuss twenty-five animals who are known to get drunk and also high. Let’s try and understand if these are facts or fiction, based on information available in the public domain.
What Are 25 Animals Thаt Can Gеt Drunk
Vervet or the green monkeys are native of Africa. Three hundred years ago, they traveled with humans to distant places like the Caribbean. Here, they got introduced to sugar cane and molasses. The fermented sugar creates ethanol, which these monkeys ate in plenty. Like humans, there were teetotalers, mediocre drinkers, and heavy boozers.
These monkeys got used to alcohol so well; they identified the spirit among the tourists along the beaches. Just like plantain and food getting carried away from these holidayers, their alcohol would also disappear. Even juvenile monkeys compete with adults while drinking.
Since they have been taking the spirit for quite some time now, their tolerance has also grown. They don’t get high very quickly. Locals use the rum and wine, mixed with molasses to capture these little fellows.
Scientists have come up with the “Drunken Monkey Hypothesis.” This hypothesis suggests that our forefathers, the Homo sapiens, got introduced to the fermenting berries and fruits due to lack of availability of other food sources. This liking for ethanol has got passed on to humans and also to other fruit-eating animals and birds. Scientists suggest that attraction and consumption of ethanol by various primates dates back to tens of millions of years.
However, over the years, there have been differences of opinion regarding this theory. There is also a theory that human being has been fermenting various fruits and grains to generate ethanol for thousands of years. This is because humans are creative and can think. Since they knew how to brew this alcohol, they have also been consuming it over some time. Birds and animals accidentally came in contact with naturally occurring ethanol and have got used to this beverage!
It is a fact, as per researchers, that one out of five monkeys prefers ethanol over water. 5% of vervet monkeys living in the Carribeans are alcoholics, as per study!
Moose or elks, getting drunk with overripe apple, has been a widely debated subject across the European and American subcontinents. Moose are attracted to apples by nature. When they consume rotten fermented apples, they tend to get high. There are occasions where they got observed, caught, and hanging precariously from an apple tree.
Critics have been negating the theory of drunken moose. They cite that a moose nearly weighs around 700kgs. Eating a few overripe apples will not make them drunk. Canadian biologist came up with the apple acidosis syndrome. Due to the massive consumption of sugar-rich food, led to a build-up of lactic acid in their gut, leading to symptoms of dilated pupils, struggle to stand erect and depression among moose.
Slow lorises are nocturnal primates found in Southeast Asia. Their legs and arms are of equal length and are found hanging on trees. They are omnivores and forage at night. Their most popular diet is the nectar from flowers of Bertram’s palms.
Researchers find that these lazy and adorable creatures also have their wild side. Given a choice between different alcohol content, slow loris chose the strongest. They are fond of nectar, which has decent quantities of sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Fermented forms of these were equally attractive to these primates.
Waxwings are brown and grey with silky plumage. They have black and white eye stripe, a crest, square tail, and pointed wings. Some of these birds have wings with a red tip, giving them this name. They feed on fruits, flowers, nectar, and insects. Birds are known to eat all kinds of berries, including the over-ripe ones!
There are reports of drunk birds getting into windows, being hit by cars, and moving about disoriented. These led to the belief that waxwing, in the absence of other food options, gorge on the overripe and often fermented berries to act in such a bizarre fashion. Many die from injuries sustained from such collisions. Since they feed in flocks, getting disoriented in groups is a common phenomenon.
The bohemian waxwing feast on berries from rowan trees, which ferments during the cold season. There is good content of ethanol in these fruits. Large consumption leads to these birds getting zapped!
Treeshrews are small mammals commonly seen in Southeast Asia. They are omnivores but eat plenty of fruits. Their brain size is more significant compared to the rest of the body. Have a long tail and have soft grey or reddish-brown fur. They have good vision.
The pen tailed treeshrews in Malaysia consume fermented nectar in very high quantity, without reflecting any change in their behavior. These animals must have developed the capability to absorb large amounts of alcohol without affecting them in any way.
Many studies have revealed that even after day-long consumption of fermented fruits and nectar, there is no change in the way they act and remain sober!
Commonly known as ‘chimps,’ they are the Great Ape species of Africa. They have now migrated to all parts of the world. They get widely covered with thick black hair, but their face, palm, hands, and feet are bare.
Chimpanzees are omnivorous frugivores and eat plenty of fruits, flowers, plants, leaves, bark, and resin. They display a decent amount of intelligence, including mirror and tool tests. Some of their wild brethren, as per record, collect fermented raffia palm tree sap, which is high on alcohol and drink merrily.
Drunk chimps have shown signs of restlessness and falling asleep. They made simple tools to collect the sap from the palm trees, cover it up with leaves, and later after fermentation, eat the alcohol-soaked leaves to their heart content.
Bats are mammals of the Chiroptera order. They are nocturnal and can fly great distances. Different species of bats have varied food habits. They eat fruits, nectar, pollen, and even vertebrates. Megabats are mostly fruits, nectar, and pollen eaters.
These megabats eat fermented nectar and fruits, which is high with alcohol content. However, it got found that they were able to handle their ‘drink’ very well. They continue with their foraging mission, and their built-in sonar mechanism continues to work efficiently.
Researchers have conducted closed studies with bats and have concluded that alcohol does not impair their central nervous system. This aids bats to feed on those fruits and nectar, which others avoid!
Rats are medium-sized and long-tailed rodents. The best-known species of rats are black and brown rats. Rats feed on all types of food that gets consumed by humans. Wild rats feed on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, bugs, fur, insects, and other small animals.
Since their food habits are similar to humans, rats too consume liquor like wine and beer. Under the controlled condition, alcohol got introduced to rats. Rats seem to manage alcohol better than humans. Though they were a little slow in their movements at the beginning, within a short period, they return to their normalcy.
Raccoons are medium-sized mammals, a native of North America. They get considered an intelligent beast. Their front paws are susceptible and agile. Though nocturnal, they seem to forage for food during the day too. Their diet consists of vertebrates, invertebrates, and plant material.
As per records, raccoons must have had access to fermented fruits, which made them disoriented and sleepy. These raccoons were seen sleeping on the ground in broad daylight, which is quite uncommon. Others have seen raccoons unable to stand erect and collapsing.
It seems that their intoxication is accidental and not as per plan. Since they do not seek fermented food and do not understand its effect, they succumb to its influence.
Ants are from the Formicidae family and related to bees and wasps. Most ants are indirect herbivores, scavengers, and general predators.
Ants get drunk if they stumble across fermented fruits and nectar. In human space, they may come across the wine and other sugary alcoholic broth. Incase they ingest the alcohol, they seem disoriented and sometimes lose their way home.
When other ants find a drunk friend, they may push them into a ditch to sober up. Sometimes they were found to get carried to their resting spaces.
Elephants are the largest living land animals and belong to the Elephantidae family. Their intellect is present to some extent, as per various researches. 80% of the day gets spent on feeding on grasses, bushes, small plants, fruits, twigs, roots, and tree bark.
Elephants prefer fruits from marula trees. It got thought that they feed on the fermented fruits lying on the ground and then get intoxicated. This is not true since elephants don’t eat on rotting fruits lying on the ground. They would as well eat the fruits directly from the trees with the help of their trunk or pick up only the freshly dropped ones.
Also, due to the massive size of an elephant, a large quantity or percentage of alcohol can only get them drunk. Another possibility seems that the elephants also ate the bark of the marula tree, which nurtures beetle pupae, which is highly poisonous. Was it possible that this venom intake made these huge animals agitated and got considered as their drunkenness!
Incase this pachyderm comes across huge barrels of freshly brewed alcohol made of grains, they may taste the same in the absence of any other food or water. This might make them a little unsettled, but chances are very rare.
They get considered as one of the largest populous large mammals in the world. They are omnivores and eats all types of food. Their organs, muscles, and metabolism resemble that of human beings. If given a chance, they would gorge on beer and go fast asleep.
Mostly there has been human intervention, when pigs got fed with beer, for a specific set of activities:
- To make them relaxed during childbirth.
- Get sleepy so that their infants can have a better feed.
- Or to just put to rest an unruly guest.
Alcohol affects the pigs very quickly, making them disoriented, wobbly, going round in circles, and just falling into a deep slumber. They seem to like a little alcohol mixed to their food, as noted by many farmers. In some cases, alcohol gets sprayed on pigs, if newcomers get added to the sty. The smell disorients the pigs, which makes this introduction uneventful.
Butterflies and moths are insects, which belong to the Lepidoptera order. They primarily feed on nectar from flowers. Some species are also seen feeding on pollen, rotting fruits, decaying flesh, tree sap, dung, and dissolved minerals in wet sand and soil.
Some butterflies who feed on rotting fruits get drunk from the fermented alcohol intake. This makes them dizzy, stagger, and unable to fly properly. Some species like the Red Admiral and Commas are known to feed and stock up sugar from nectars and rotting fruits before the winters. They tend to become drowsy due to overfeeding on this fermented matter. Since they become lethargic due to this alcohol intake, they can be easily be picked, which otherwise would be unlikely.
Dolphin is a common aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea. They feed mainly on fish and squids. Some species feed on seals and other large mammals. Dolphins get considered as most social animals. They get also rated as very intelligent.
Pufferfish are known as the most poisonous vertebrates in the world. They tend to release a small amount of poison like chemical when threatened. It has now got documented that dolphins attack such pufferfish so that they ingest these small quantities of venom and get a ‘high.’ Many instances of a similar situation have got recorded. Such dolphins were in a kind of stupor or trance, immediately after this.
The cat is a small carnivorous mammal. Cats have excellent vision, sharp nose, and right pairs of ears. They primarily feed on rodents and little birds. They lap up the liquid with their tongue. They cannot stand any form of ethanol alcohol. If by mistake, they ingest ethanol, they must get rushed to a veterinarian.
However, they seem to get high from another quarter altogether. There is a member of the mint family known as catnip. These plants produce an intoxicating chemical known as nepetalactone. When cats come in contact with this plant, they get high. They are seen hyperactive, drooling, anxious, and sleepy. The effect of this chemical wears off after around 15 minutes.
Bees are flying insects and closely related to wasps and ants. They are known for the pollination of plants and producers of honey. They mostly eat and drink pollen and nectar from flowers. However, there is always an exception to the rule. Also, what they eat and drink varies between species and their age.
Studies of bees fed with ethanol show the following results:
- Their nervous motor system gets impaired, just like humans.
- They are unable to fly and lie upside down.
Those honeybees that get high while feeding on fermented tree sap, face the following consequences:
- They lose their way to their hives.
- They get attacked by the sober bees when they finally reach their destination.
- Their legs get pulled out since they get considered a threat to their colony.
However, it seems that the bee community is lenient towards the consumption of cocaine and caffeine. Since they naturally occur in tobacco and citrus trees, bees get high while collecting nectar from these plants.
Reindeer is a species of deer, mainly found in the cold belts of the world. They are ruminants with four chambers in their stomach. They mostly eat lichens, which is unique among mammals. They can metabolize lichens with the protozoa and particular bacteria in their guts. The lichenin gets converted into sugar with its help. They also feed on grass, leaves, and small rodents and fishes.
Amanita muscaria or fly agaric mushroom is red. They are poisonous and cause dizziness among humans. Reindeers in Siberia are known to seek out these fungi and consume them. Their digestive system can synthesize these mushrooms and provide them with a ‘kick.’ After consuming this particular mushrooms, reindeers feel ecstatic. They twitch their heads side to side. Run around aimlessly, snort, and seems pretty agitated.
Siberian natives are known to feed these fungi to the reindeer, and they drink their urine to get drugged and get high!
Macaques are from the genus Gregarious Old World Monkeys. Their diets include flowers, leaves, seeds, and barks of trees. They are very adaptive and can live in various environment settings. Rhesus macaques are grey or brown and have a pink face. They are diurnal and live on trees and the ground. They are herbivores, feeding on fruits, buds, cereals, barks, and roots.
These macaques have a decent level of intellect. They have got widely used in research and studies, including patterns of behavior under the influence of alcohol. Some of these macaques stumble upon fermented fruits and berries when they get consumed, gives them a kick, just like the humans. However, there are no findings that they drink or eat this fermented food to get high.
Jaguars get mostly found in the American sub-continent and members of the genus Panthera. These spotted cats are similar to leopards but are usually larger and sturdier. These large cats are carnivores and feed on meat.
Jaguars that live in the wild are frequently known to get drunk by eating roots of caapi plant. These plants are rich in monoamine oxidase inhibitors chemicals. This chemical gets used by humans as antidepressant drugs. Jaguars eat these roots not only for getting a kick but also to become more aware of their surroundings for their hunting.
Bears are carnivorous mammal of the Ursidae family. They are omnivores only when they find the easy availability of fresh meat and fish. At other times, they contend with fruits, nuts, leaves, berries, insects, and barks. Their digestive system can manage all types of food.
In Russia, brown bears were seen inhaling fumes from discarded aviation fuel and getting high. They have gotten used to the fumes so much, that they attack small aircraft or their fuel reservoir for those heavenly sniffs.
Bears are known to love eating apples. The notion of bears eating a rotten apple and getting drunk does not go well with researchers. Given the size of the bears, eating a few rotting apples will not affect them in any way.
Koala bears sleep for around 22 hours a day. They feed on eucalyptus and gum leaves. However, research has found that this does not make them drunk or make them high. Their natural tendency to sleep long hours have nothing to do with their feeding habit.
There is another misnomer that panda bears get high by feeding on bamboo. They eat bamboo due to the absence of other vegetation. Since bamboo is rich in fiber and has less mineral content, pandas consume vast quantities of bamboo.
The larval stage of butterflies and moths are known as caterpillars. They feed on leaves and other parts of the plants like the flower, fruits, and the stem.
In Peru and Columbia, caterpillars feed on coca leaves. Cocaine gets derived from these plants. There has been no indication of any effect on these caterpillars even after longterm intake. Researchers have thus concluded that caterpillars can digest these leaves just like others, without getting high.
The dog is a member of the Canis genus. They were the first animal that got domesticated. They have various inane attributes among their species, which is in sync to human requirements. They are generally carnivores and omnivores, due to their digestive system and feeding patterns.
Domestic dogs tend to eat and drink human leftover food. Lapping up beer spilled on the floor, or wine can make the dogs go tizzy. Due to their small size, a small quantity of alcohol can quickly affect their central nervous system. It would make them dizzy and disoriented. Large amounts of alcohol in their blood-stream is dangerous for their health. Alcohol does not go well with the dog’s digestive system and may prove fatal at times.
The aye-ayes are the largest nocturnal primates in the world. They have long fingers and are from the lemur family. They have a thin and long middle finger to scoop out food from inside shells and closed areas. They are omnivores and live on trees. They feed on nectar, fruits, seeds, fungi, and insect larvae.
It got found that aye-ayes seek nectar or fruits, which has higher ethanol content due to fermentation. They seem to love alcohol and don’t show any sign of being high. This is because aye-ayes have an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase, which helps them to detoxify ethanol content.
Bighorn sheep are from the sheep family, found in North America. Their name refers to the large horn they carry, which weighs around 10% of their body weight. Their diet varies as per season. In summer, they feed on grasses and sages. In the winter, their foods include willow and rabbitbrush.
It is a known fact that wild bighorn sheep in the Canadian Rockies will travel great distances and difficult terrain to get high. They get attracted to narcotic lichens found on the green and yellow patches of the rock surface. These sheep would scrape the rock with their teeth to remove and eat these lichens. Soon after, they will act stupid and dizzy, but undertake this sojourn for this momentary kick!
Birds are known as avian dinosaurs, have feathers, four-chamber heart, toothless but has beaks and durable but light-weight skeleton. Bird’s feeding habits are varied depending upon the species. They feed on fruits, seeds, nectar, plants, various small animals, including smaller birds.
There are many instances where birds were found intoxicated with fermented berries and crashing into buildings and cars and dying due to its disorientation. Since they are small in size, small quantities of ethanol are sufficient for their hangover.
The horse has evolved from a small multi-toed creature to a sizeable single-toed animal over millions of years. They feed on grass mostly, and in the barn, they get fed on hays.
Since their liver can process alcohol quickly, horses never get drunk. Even if they drink beer, they would gulp it down and show no sign of being high!
Ethanol or alcohol influences humans and animals alike. The degree of its intake and its effects vary between them. There are naturally available ethanol or chemicals that get consumed by the animals and birds, to get drunk or high. Most of them are accidental, while there are specific cases where the animals seek out their source and get high.
In many cases, lores and local tales, shroud the fact, leading to many wrong notions. There are also long drawn researches, which are non-conclusive. There are too few cases, where no changes were noticed, even after consuming large quantities of the so-called alcohol or drug!
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