Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Caught in My Web: Mind-Altering Substances

Image by Luc Viatour at Wikimedia Commons
Drunken birds have gone viral this week! For this edition of Caught in My Web, we wonder if animals alter their mental states like people do.

1. Drunk Minnesotan birds are flying into windows! At least that is what the viral story says. But the truth may be a bit more measured. As the Police Chief of Gilbert, Minnesota says, “It sounds like every bird in our town is hammered, and that’s not the case.” Read the real story here.

2. But do wild animals really drink alcohol? Not in the way that we do, maybe, but many consume overly fermented fruits. Some have developed a tolerance to the high alcohol content, others, not so much. Just ask this poor drunk moose that got herself stuck in a tree after eating too many fermented apples.

3. But it’s not just fermented fruits that get animals drunk. Some fish can make their own alcohol to help them survive a long winter under the ice.

4. What about the effects of other mind-altering substances on animals? Ever wonder what kind of web a spider would make on different drugs? In 1948, a zoologist at the University of Tubingen in Germany by the name of H.M. Peters did.



5. Octopuses are normally very solitary creatures… that is, unless they are given ecstasy. Apparently, even octopuses seek social interactions when they take the common party drug.

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