Far be it from us to promote or condone anything illicit, but it’s not out of pocket to point out that people out in the world have, for just shy of forever, been looking for ways to alter their states of consciousness or otherwise get high, as the kids say. And it turns out it’s not even just people who do it. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most unusual highs that have ever been achieved.
10. Dolphins Use Pufferfish to Get High
They say dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals on earth, as far as being able to objectively measure such things go. Maybe even close to humans. So what can we make of the knowledge that, like humans, some dolphins love to get high as a kite?
Footage of dolphins in the wild has shown that young ones clearly go out of their way to hunt down and play with certain kinds of pufferfish. These fish produce toxins as a natural defense mechanism and it can be lethal in high enough doses. But, like many drugs, if you are exposed to the right dose it doesn’t kill you, it just gets you high. At least that’s how it seems to work for dolphins.
The dolphins have worked out how to get the fish to release just enough of the toxin to get high by chewing on the fish just a little then handing it off to a friend. In this way an entire group of dolphins can get completely loopy. Their behavior noticeably changes after exposure to the fish, including floating nose up in the water.
9. Parrots Get Addicted to Opium and Raid Poppy Farms
Opium production is an enormous industry in the world. In Afghanistan alone there are about 233,000 hectares of opium fields, or 575,755 acres. India, on the other hand, produces the drug legally for medical purposes and is the largest producer of it in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its own problems. India has to deal with parrots.
Parakeets and related birds will flock to poppy fields up to 30 or 40 times a day to feed. Larger birds can fly away with an entire pod which could produce 20 to 25 grams of opium alone which works out to around 1 ounce and is more than enough to get a human high, never mind a parrot.
The birds know to fly in quietly to avoid detection and will either destroy the pods to get seeds or take the whole pod away. Farmers have tried using loud noises and even firecrackers to keep the birds away but nothing has been very successful.
8. People Smoke Dead Scorpions to Get High
Humans have proven to be nothing if not industrious when it comes to getting high and we can turn damn near anything into an illicit substance with some Walter White ingenuity and time. That includes the utterly unpredictable, like dead scorpions.
While Pakistan, like India, has its fair share of opium, there are also street vendors who will sell you scorpions as well. These scorpions can be cooked on a stove or dried out in the sun. The venom in the tail is what addicts crave and the high sounds absolutely bonkers, to put it in scientific terms.
The high lasts about 10 hours but 6 of those are just painful because the venom is incredibly toxic and dangerous. After the 6 hour pain prep, the remaining four hours have been described as enjoyable because “everything appears like it is dancing.”
The venom is more dangerous than many other drugs and there are reports it’s incredibly addicting and dangerous. It can lead to serious memory loss, delusions, and more.
7. Lemurs Like to Get High on Millipedes
The rest of the animal kingdom is also well aware of the kick you can get from ingesting creepy crawlies in one form or another and that’s why lemurs have shown that they’re really into getting high on millipedes.
Lemurs can be found on the island of Madagascar where they spend their days eating mostly fruit and hopping about in a comical fashion. They have also been observed biting, but not eating, red millipedes. This is the lemur equivalent of what we already saw with dolphins and pufferfish.
The red millipede produces toxins that are meant to keep predators away. The mixture they produce even includes cyanide. For its part, the lemurs get sprayed with this solution and it causes them to salivate something awful. They rub this toxic spit mixture as well as they now spit and poison covered millipede into their own fur. While this acts as a kind of natural pesticide, it also gets the lemur high, putting them into a sort of trance.
6. Wallabies Get High on Opium and Make Crop Circles
Down under in Australia there are fields of poppies being grown for the production of opiate drugs, even ones full of “super poppies” engineered for Johnson and Johnson to be high yield narcotic producers. This has not gone unnoticed by the local wildlife.
On the island of Tasmania, where the poppies are grown legally, wallabies had a bad habit of raiding the fields, getting completely wasted eating the plants, and then spinning in circles. Not only is the eating a problem but the wallabies’ spinning creates damaging crop circles that destroy even more of the valuable plants, making it a double whammy of marsupial mayhem.
It’s never been clear why the poppies make the wallabies spin in circles, the same thing happens to sheep and neither of them are trapped in the field, they seem to just get stuck spinning and eating as they get high.
5. Reindeer Herders Get High Drinking Reindeer Pee
This one may qualify as a twofer or some kind of circle of life high. At the very least it’s like a not-quite-human centipede of psychoactivity, which is novel if nothing else.
In the northern parts of Europe there is a large population of reindeer and, as a result, reindeer herders, including the Sami people. The herders have known for a long time that the reindeer like to graze on hallucinogenic mushrooms and, in fact, the Sami people folded this habit into their own rituals. Sami shaman were said to drink the urine of the already-stoned reindeer in order to get the world’s weirdest contact high.
Now, many sources debunk this story as being untrue and say that of course no one ever drank hallucinogenic reindeer urine. However, that was later retracted by one of the debunkers when he spent time with these people and they told him explicitly that it does, in fact, happen.
Why drink reindeer whiz when the mushrooms are right there? The reindeer filter them. The mushrooms on their own would be too dangerous. Eating them raw would cause vomiting and other side effects. But filtered through the reindeer’s pee makes it very ironically more palatable.
4. Smoking Crushed Ants Is Popular with Youth in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is known for being pretty strict when it comes to rules about drugs and drinking. But it seems like the locals have developed one or two ways to skirt the regulations with novel highs. Some people smoke ants, for instance.
The local samsun black ants produce formic acid when they are attacked as a defense mechanism. The ants are harvested in sandy areas and then crushed and added to tobacco to smoke. The formic acid produces a high that’s compared to marijuana, completely with audio and visual hallucinations. The downside is that, when smoked, the formic acid becomes dangerously toxic and can lead to pulmonary fibrosis and renal failure and damage to the nervous system.
The problem seems to be pervasive with children in the UAE, with reports suggesting as many as one third of all children have tried it. The ants are not illegal to smoke so there’s no consequence for anyone to do so and you can find them literally everywhere, they’re ants.
There’s even a market for the ants for those who don’t want to scrounge them. Packets of them sell for the equivalent of about $100 US.
3. Aussie Dogs Lick Cane Toads to Get High
Licking toads may be the most ubiquitous “weird” high out there, so well known it was in an episode of The Simpsons over 20 years ago. The idea of licking toads to get a buzz is not all cartoon tomfoolery, however. It’s also not limited to humans or their yellow-skinned animated counterparts. Dogs in Australia have learned they can get a buzz this way, too.
Australia is home to over one billion cane toads, each of them protected by a toxic secretion. That toxin, however, is not enough to kill a dog that may stop by for a simple taste. It will get the dog stoned, however. As one dog owner said, it makes the dogs “a little bit crazy” looking.
Veterinarians and officials in Australia readily acknowledge that this is common behavior for some dogs. While any dog may see a toad once and try to play with it, getting high as a result, others have a habit and their owners have observed the frequent results of the behavior.
All of that said, it’s possible that cane toad toxins could harm your dog as well, so if your dog gets to one it’s in your best interests to take them to the vet, just in case.
2. Marmots Destroy Cars to Get at Antifreeze
Antifreeze has a long and troubling history in the world of consumables. Cats are attracted to it and will often consume it despite how toxic it is for them thanks to the sweet taste. There was an entire scandal in the 70s over Austrian winemakers adding it to their wine, as well.
While antifreeze is bad for cats and humans alike, marmots are another matter. In California, yellow-bellied marmots have been observed in groups of four or five under cars in parking lots. They climb up into the engine and chew through hoses until they find the one that holds coolant and the group will lap up as much antifreeze as they can. According to officials from Fish And Wildlife, as many as 200 marmots do this in the parking area of Sequoia National Park from May to August, damaging a few dozen cars in the process.
The marmots started doing it in the 80s and they’ve been observed enjoying what looks like a high, possibly from the ethylene glycol which is technically alcohol, just not the kind most of us should be drinking.
It’s unclear if the marmots can process antifreeze somehow, or they simply consume non-lethal doses, but the fact they keep coming back means it’s not killing them like it would many other animals.
1. Soldiers in Vietnam Would Eat C4 to Get High
Humans have used all kinds of preposterous things to get high. Sniffing glue was popular for a while. Huffing gas, too. We’ll try mass amounts of nutmeg, and even banana peels despite the fact they do nothing. Heck, for a time krokodil seemed to be popular and that chemical cocktail dissolved people while they were still alive. So maybe it’s not too bizarre to learn that soldiers in Vietnam tried to get high by eating C4 explosives.
C4 was a popular military explosive during the war and is still used in demolition today. Soldiers in Vietnam learned that ingesting small quantities of the plastic explosive produced a high similar to that of ethanol. Of course, it also produces symptoms like seizures, dizziness, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmia, rashes, coma and a host of others.