Humans are a strange species. Consider alcohol, in reality, humans are poisoning themselves to a certain degree. Fermented fruits and vegetables will impact our ability to think straight, walk straight and make smart life choices. Yet we all know it can be good fun to have the occasional drink or two. Surely no other animal is this silly to deliberately poison themselves with alcohol? Actually no, it has been shown that some animals like to embrace a drink from time to time. Read on to find out more
The Pen Tailed Tree Shrew
Not a very well known animal but it lives in the forests of Malaysia. This shrew is known to drink the fermented nectar of palm trees every night for a few hours. While this sounds like alcoholism to me, in reality, the shrew feels no adverse effects. It appears that through evolution the shrew has built up such a tolerance that alcohol has no effect anymore and actually aids their health. We all have some friends who claim the same thing!
Similarly, American bats enjoy fermented nectar and fruits but don’t appear to feel any effect. They can have an alcohol level in their blood high enough for a human to be banned from driving and still manage to navigate obstacle course caves with ease. Interestingly when a similar breed of the bat from Egypt was under the same influence it really struggled to navigate, showing that these tolerance levels are based on evolution in location, not the species itself.
These birds have been found to devour fermented berries when available and unlike the previous examples, they can’t handle their alcohol so well. In 2014 some of these birds were so intoxicated they had to be taken to animal healthcare to bring them back to health. Some had to be removed from the alcohol rich environment permanently.
Bees are known to get intoxicated from fermented nectar. What is really incredible about bees though is the social correction that takes place. If a bee tries to return to a hive while inebriated it won’t be let in. Bees will even attack a drunk bee until it starts to behave normally again.
St Kitts’ Monkeys
The monkeys of St Kitts have become famous for getting a little too wasted as well. Sadly these monkeys are drinking human cocktails that are left on tables. This is not a natural occurrence and shows the impact that humans can have on nature. The lesson is simple. Always finish your drinks.