7 Animals That Use Drugs In Nature
Dolphins are known to be highly intelligent species, but you might not have heard that they are also highly adept at consuming drug-like chemicals. They have been observed with pufferfish in their mouths, gently squeezing them to release a neurotoxin that causes them to enter a trance-like state. While Tetrodotoxin (the poison commonly found in pufferfish) can be lethal in higher doses – it’s about 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide – it gives the dolphins a peculiar sensation when consumed in very small doses. The dolphins were reported to be seen staring at their reflection beneath the surface of the water, and gently handing the pufferfish as to not release too much toxin.
Cats are a more commonly known animal to enjoy the effects of drugs. Nepalactone comes from the catnip plant, and it triggers a state of sexual arousal upon consumption. Domestic cats aren’t the only ones affected by it, either. Leopards, tigers, and lynxes have also shown an interest in the plant. It’s users can be seen rolling, rubbing themselves, sicking, sniffing, jumping, and sleepiness. A cat’s susceptibility to the drug is genetic, meaning that some cats are genetically more susceptible to the effects of catnip, while others will demonstrate little or no reaction. About 33% of cats are unaffected by the drug.
Locoweed is a purple-colored flowering plant that can be found all over North America. Cows will often be found standing still and grazing on the plant for long periods of time. It acts as a form of tranquilizer, in that it calms the cows down. However, this plant is very harmful when consumed for over two weeks; causing depression, reproductive dysfunction, weight loss, and brain damage. It can even be spread to younger animals through the mother’s milk. Horses and sheep have also shown tendencies to gravitate towards the plant.
4. Big Horned Sheep
The Canadian Rocky Mountains are home to Big Horned Sheep that have a special fondness for the lichen that grow there. While the lichen only forms in areas where more common plants are unable to grow, the sheep still venture the treacherous terrain so they can satisfy their urge. The lichen is a hallucinogenic that the sheep consume by scraping it off the rocks with their front teeth. Sometimes, the sheep have even grinded their teeth down to the gum just so they can satiate their addiction to the powerful drug.
Home to around half of the world’s legal opium production, Australia is a major beneficiary of the pharmaceutical industry. However, having giant fields of poppies comes with it’s downsides, as well. Wallabies, a species indigenous to Australia and New Guinea, are commonly found in these fields getting high, running around in circles, and crashing in place. Because opium is so addictive, the Wallabies will return again and again to satisfy their desire for more.
The Ayahuasca vine grows in central and South America, and is a favorite among jaguars. Also known as yagé, this plant acts as a hallucinogen to these jaguars, and gives them heightened senses. It is also cooked into a drink that the natives like to drink to experience what some call a “dizziness”. While jaguars are a distant cousin to domestic cats, they don’t gravitate towards catnip, but rather their own indigenous drug of choice.
The sugary sap of the lime tree becomes very appealing to bees once it ferments. They enter a drunken stupor that makes it especially difficult for them to maneuver in the air. They can also lose their sense of direction and become temporarily lost. While this isn’t ideal for the success of the hive, sometimes the buzz is worth it.