Why do reindeer eat the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria?
July 26, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Reindeer and a variety of animals within the wild make use of mind-altering drugs. Their crazy behavior may have encouraged a man to undertake these recreational drugs, too, reports a piece of writing published within the Pharmaceutical Journal (Vol 285 18/25 December 2010).
Reindeer attend great lengths to hunt out the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom (Amanita muscaria), and eating the fungi makes them behave drunkenly, run about aimlessly and make strange noises. Head twitching is additionally common.
Fly agaric mushrooms have long been employed by man for psychotropic properties but are often toxic. Reindeer can eat them without harm. Having observed their effects on their livestock, reindeer herders in Baltic and Asia have long collected reindeer urine as a safer way of taking this hallucinogen.
The full animal world has its junkies too, with horses and other grazing mammals on the prairies of South-West America becoming hooked into hallucinogen-containing plants known generically as locoweed, especially species Astragalus and Oxytropis. People who try them come time and again for a repeat fix, and symptoms include altered gait, impaired vision, and erratic behavior.
Birds also enjoy a tipple and finches, waxwings and starlings are vulnerable to getting drunk on fermented fruit and grain and crashing into windows. Waxwings are found dead in heaps near sources of fermenting rowan berries, and post-mortem examinations show they died drunk, with the acute alcoholic disease.
Goats are credited with caffeine's invention as consistent with tradition, an Ethiopian goatherd within the ninth century named Khaldi noticed his goats dancing frenziedly after eating the brilliant red berries of the shrub Arabian coffee. He tried a couple of seeds himself, felt elated, and introduced his find to the monks within the local monastery.