How Animals Can Get High in the Wild | Summary and Q&A

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June 30, 2019
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How Animals Can Get High in the Wild

TL;DR

Animals seeking out intoxicants may make for entertaining anecdotes, but scientific evidence suggests that most cases of animal drug-seeking behavior are either exaggerated or nonexistent.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Do dolphins actually get high by consuming puffer fish toxins?

There is no empirical evidence to support this claim. Observations suggest that dolphins play with puffer fish, and the apparent stoned behavior afterward is simply resting at the water's surface.

Q: Is it true that elephants get drunk on fermented fruit?

No, the math doesn't add up. Fermented fruit contains low levels of alcohol, and elephants would have to consume an unrealistic amount to get intoxicated. Aggressive behavior around marula fruit may be due to territorial protection.

Q: Are cows addicted to locoweed?

No, it is unlikely that cows develop an addiction to locoweed. They may consume it when alternative food sources are scarce, and the taste preference can be learned and passed on to other cows.

Q: Does catnip make cats hallucinate?

No, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Catnip triggers natural behaviors related to sexual attraction and is chemically similar to feline social odors.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Dolphins allegedly getting high by "milking" toxins from puffer fish is more likely a case of playful behavior rather than drug-seeking.

  • Stories of elephants getting drunk on fermented marula fruit are likely tall tales, as the math shows that elephants would have to consume impossible amounts to get intoxicated.

  • Cows appearing "out of it" may not be due to addiction to locoweed, but rather a result of limited food options and a taste preference for the plant.

  • Catnip's effects on cats are not hallucinatory, but rather a response to their natural sexual behaviors and the scent of other cats.

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