5 Wild Animals That Get Intoxicated

On the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean, there is a population of wild Green Vervet Monkeys that are known for their alcoholism.

Drinking is an ancient pastime that dates back to before the birth of Christ and has a significant place in modern society. Did you know that America’s National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” was originally a drinking song? Or that the oldest known recipe is for beer?

But what about in the animal kingdom? Are there animals that enjoy a drink?

Well, it turns out that animals can get drunk too! From birds going to rehab and bees getting DUIs to monkeys stealing cocktails and fighting, here are five animals that get intoxicated in the wild and how they do it.

Pen-Tailed Tree Shrews and Their Nightly Beer

In the Malaysian rainforest, the Pen-Tailed Tree Shrew, a small mammal that can fit in your hand, enjoys fermented palm nectar every night. The alcohol content of their preferred drink is similar to beer, and they drink for about two hours every night without fail.

Though it may seem like a drinking problem to us, this has been their way of life for millennia. Scientists believe that their nightly alcohol consumption is highly beneficial to the shrews, as they have a better metabolism for consuming alcohol, which helps them avoid cardiovascular risk and consume more calories.

American Bats That Handle Alcohol Better Than Their Egyptian Cousins

Tropical bats from Central and South America regularly consume fermented fruits and nectar, but they rarely feel the effects of the alcohol they consume.

These bats navigate using echolocation, and even with a blood alcohol content of 0.3% (keep in mind that all states in America require drivers to have a blood alcohol content of less than 0.08%), they were still able to navigate a tricky obstacle course and maze using their echolocation without slurring their “words.”

However, the same type of bats in Egypt crashed more often while navigating the same obstacle course. Scientists believe that the Egyptian bats have a lower tolerance for alcohol due to having less fermented fruit to eat.

According to some scientists, American bats have an evolutionary advantage due to their high tolerance for certain foods that other animals cannot eat and their ability to stay relatively sober. Bohemian Waxwing Birds enjoy eating fermented berries from Rowan Trees, but some birds become so intoxicated that they have trouble flying and even crash into buildings. In 2014, some of these birds were taken to an animal healthcare facility in Canada to sober up, while others were sent to rehab at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. Bees are also known to get drunk from fermented nectar, causing them to fly dangerously and sometimes even get lost. When drunk bees return to the hive, other bees often block them from entering until they have sobered up. On the island of St. Kitts, feral Green Vervet Monkeys have become notorious alcoholics, stealing cocktails from unsuspecting beachgoers. A study shows that most of these monkeys are social drinkers, while a small percentage are binge drinkers who stumble about and even start fights while under the influence.

According to the study, young monkeys consume more alcohol than their adult counterparts, and all monkeys have a preference for fruity cocktails.

FAQ

What animals get drunk in the wild?

There are several animals that have been known to consume fermented fruits and become intoxicated. These include certain species of monkeys, bats, birds, and even elephants. For example, the African elephant has been observed eating the fermented fruit of the marula tree and exhibiting signs of intoxication such as stumbling and swaying.

What are the effects of alcohol on animals?

The effects of alcohol on animals vary depending on their size and the amount consumed. Some animals may exhibit signs of drunkenness such as stumbling, slurred speech, and a lack of coordination. In extreme cases, alcohol consumption can lead to coma or death. Additionally, alcohol can have long-term effects on animals such as liver damage and addiction.

Why do animals consume alcohol?

Animals may consume alcohol accidentally or intentionally. Some animals may accidentally ingest fermented fruits while foraging for food, while others actively seek out fermented fruits for their intoxicating effects. For example, some species of birds have been observed consuming fermented nectar in order to become intoxicated.

Is it harmful for animals to consume alcohol?

While some animals may be able to tolerate small amounts of alcohol, excessive consumption can be harmful and even deadly. Alcohol can cause liver damage, brain damage, and other health problems in animals just as it does in humans. Additionally, animals that become intoxicated may be more vulnerable to predators or accidents.

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