If there is one thing the internet loves, it’s animals acting like people. 37 million people have watched this cat being forced to play the keyboard and millions if not billions more videos have been dedicated to anthropomorphizing animals. So by popular demand this is my post today will be about wildlife using recreational drugs just as irrationally as humans.
Animals remain to be a critical tool in the research of addiction. Many experiments deemed too unethical for human studies are often passed off to literal lab rats and even dolphins. In one 1950s experiment, the US government gave a dolphin LSD in an effort to teach it english. That made me wonder if animals had any desire to alter their surroundings outside of forced consumption from humans.
In Indonesia, an orangutan named Tori became hooked on tobacco after zoo-goers started flicking lit cigarettes into her enclosure. In India, elephants have been known to break into liquor stores and go on drunken rampages causing property damage and in some cases trampling townsfolk to death. Outside of human influence there are also some examples of wildlife altering their state of consciousness. Reindeer, big horn sheep and jaguars are all known to seek out hallucinogenic plants and ingest them for seemingly recreational reasons. This might suggest that seeking a high is just an innate pursuit of life on earth, no different than seeking out food for sustenance or air for oxygen.
This poses the question of why we as a people ingest drugs at all? Before this class I always thought it was just another side effect of the modern human condition. We’ve become so good at not dying that we turn to mind altering substances to give us a high that doesn’t come from a 40-hour work week with a 90-minute commute. We even force our pets to get high. When you think about the concept of catnip, it’s bizarre that we purchase a stimulant for a pet because we’re board of watching them sleep. There seems to be something in us that demands for the outside world to be altered beyond sober parameters. I for one blame Spuds McKenzie and the year of 1987, enjoy.