Let’s get one thing clear before we begin: at the risk of sounding controversial, TopTenz does not endorse drug abuse. It will ruin your life, and you should be doing more productive things with your time anyway, like reading TopTenz lists.
That being said, animals that do drugs are hilarious. Some animals do them for the beneficial side effects, while others just get a kick out of the habit. And since they can’t play X-Box, and therefore don’t have much to do except eat and sleep, we can’t blame them for indulging in a little casual narcotics abuse. Just don’t let them give you any ideas; some animals are such hardcore druggies that their habits would literally kill you.
Hundreds of species of birds do something called anting, which is the equivalent of going to the bird spa. By rubbing ants all over themselves, the birds make the insects secrete acid, which both kills undesirable critters (mites, ticks, etc.) and makes the ants safe for consumption. Yeah, the bird spa sucks.
That’s all well and good, but it seems that anting is also pleasantly stimulating. Scientists believe that some birds can get addicted to anting, and will promise to sing you a pretty song if you show them where the nearest anthill is, because they need their fix, dammit, they need their ants and they need them now!
So if you’re struggling with addiction, take solace in the fact that it could be worse — at least you’re not smearing ants all over yourself. And if you are, well … no, it probably can’t get any worse than that.
We have to admit that the science on this one is a little sketchy, but you’re going to get an adorable jaguar video out of it, so we don’t want to hear any complaints. Now then, you know how cats eat grass, only to hack it right back up? They do that to clean out their digestive system, and that’s a habit shared by their bigger cousins. And one of the plants jaguars eat to ease their tummies is the hallucinogenic caapi vine.
It makes sense to us that, if you’re going to eat something for the express purpose of vomiting it back up, you’ll want to be too busy tripping balls to feel it. It’s also been suggested that the plant heightens the senses, making jaguars more lethal. Unfortunately, legitimate discussion on this topic is scant, probably because anybody who got close enough to these drug-induced lethal jaguars to actually study them, ended up as dinner. The best we can find is this video:
On one hand, that’s from a BBC production, and those guys generally know what they’re talking about. But on the other hand, the narrator sounds high as a kite himself, so maybe we can’t trust his judgement. But we’d like to think it’s legit, if only because the jaguar in that video is indescribably adorable.
There’s nothing funny about nicotine addiction. Unless the addict is a chimpanzee, in which case it’s freakin’ hilarious.
Every now and then you read a story about a chimpanzee that’s taken up smoking, because that’s the sort of news the Internet was created for. The general belief is that they’re aping (no pun intended) the behavior of their human visitors, although more outlandish theories like sexual frustration have also been proposed. In most cases, it’s thought that the monkeys weren’t actually addicted, although these supposed non-addicts were reaching for cigarette butts with sticks and hiding their smokes from zookeepers, which we think goes a bit beyond “social smoker” status. But hey, if we had to sit in a cage and let thousands of people stare at us every day, we’d want a cigarette, too.
Charlie, the chimp in the video, eventually managed to kick his habit, and lived to the ancient (by monkey standards) age of 52. So good news, readers trying to quit smoking — if a monkey can do it, so can you!
You just know that any story involving wallabies is going to be a little wacky. Just like how anyone named Otto probably loves partying, an animal called a wallaby has got to be down for a good time. And despite having a built-in beer koozie, wallabies prefer the hard stuff.
See, Australia is the world’s largest supplier of legal opium, making it the world’s 17th largest supplier of opium overall. Wallabies live in Australia. Yup, you know where this is going. The marsupials have developed a tendency to go into poppy fields, eat them until they’re drugged out of their minds, and then confusedly hop in circles in what we can only imagine is the cutest drug trip you’ll ever see.
All that hopping does some damage — wallaby opium parties create crop circles, although “circle” is probably used generously in this context. Sorry, conspiracy theorists, but it turns out it’s not aliens after all. But the next time you see a crop circle you’ll think of stoned wallabies, and that should make you smile.
Being a bee is hard work — all day long the Queen’s all “go sting this” and “go pollinate that,” and when you get back to the hive at night, she’s too busy laying eggs to say thanks. It’s no wonder bees will kick back and pound down a few tiny bee shots of anything from fermented nectar to pure ethanol. And by “a few” we mean “the human equivalent of ten glasses of wine.”
The more wasted bees get, the more anti-social and violent they become, sort of like that one creepy uncle every family has. And since it’s not safe to drink and fly, they tend to flop on their backs and chill out, pondering life’s deep questions like “What’s it all mean, man?” and “Do you ever feel like you want to stop collecting pollen and just fly?”
Much like teenagers, bees can’t go home drunk without getting in trouble. Bee bouncers can pick out their intoxicated comrades, and they have a no-tolerance attitude that makes Prohibition look laid back. One or two wild nights will just get you thrown out of the hive until you sober up, as a safeguard from contamination. But repeat offenders will get their legs ripped off. Keep that in mind the next time you complain about a couple bruises you got while you were being thrown out of a bar.
Locoweed is a highly toxic plant, so obviously horses will seek it out and eat all they can. The habit starts innocently enough, as it’s often the only plant available to hungry herds in cold weather. But then they get hooked or see all the cool cattle eating it, and will start snacking on it even if there are other options.
As you may have guessed, locoweed makes horsies act a little crazy. Symptoms include vision problems, excessive salivation, aimless wandering, and a lack of coordination. So if you see a drooling horse stagger into a wall, odds are he’s on the weed. Our favorite effect is “lethargy followed by extreme outbursts in response to mild stimuli,” which makes us picture a motionless herd of horses freaking out and stampeding at the sight of a passing butterfly.
Unfortunately, the long-term symptoms aren’t funny. Depression, severe weight loss, infertility and heart failure will befall locoweed junkies. And because it’s a common plant, locoweed presents a serious problem for ranchers. For decades, they’ve been working with scientists to find the best ways to treat and prevent locoweed addiction, because you can’t just show your animals an after-school special, and hope for the best.
4. Bighorn Sheep
Like some humans, bighorn sheep can become so addicted to drugs that they’re forced to suck and lick things to get their fix. Unlike some humans, the sheep are licking rocks — specifically, rocks high up in the Rocky Mountains, where an hallucinogenic lichen grows.
Like all the best drugs, the lichen is rare and powerful, which is perhaps why sheep will go well out of their way to get some, even if the location is dangerous. Now, getting to the lichen is probably easy, because bighorn sheep are surefooted climbers. But getting back to a safe place after eating it? Just imagine how you’d fare if you had to climb a mountain while you were stoned out of your mind. You’d end up with a stone in your mind!
Sheep will supposedly grind their teeth down to nubs just to get every last bit of fungus off the rocks, so maybe that will cheer you up the next time you’re looking under your couch cushions for spare change to buy a six-pack. Hell, there’s an anti-drug campaign for you right there — show the kids a picture of a nub-toothed sheep, blood dripping from its gums. Couldn’t be any less successful than DARE.
3. Lemurs and Capuchin Monkeys
We really hope that none of you have ever been so desperate for a hit that you pissed off a poisonous millipede until it squirted hallucinogenic venom all over you, but that’s exactly what both lemurs and capuchins have been observed doing. By rubbing the millipede secretion all over their bodies, the animals get what scientists call “high as all Hell, man, you don’t even know.”
Like anting, this practice helps ward off pests. Unlike anting, there’s a legit risk involved — the millipede’s venom includes cyanide. There’s got to be a less dangerous way to repel bugs, and so we’re thinking our furry friends do this primarily for the buzz.
For capuchins, it’s also a social activity—they’ll sit in a group and pass a millipede around like they’re at the world’s grossest party. Can you imagine what drug movies would be like if humans did that? We’d pay good money to see Al Pacino sitting at a desk swarming in millipedes and slathering himself in their secretions.
An elephant never forgets, unless they go on a raging kegger. While the oft-repeated claim that elephants love to get drunk on fermented fruit is just a myth, our pachyderm pals do have a habit of wandering into villages where rice beer is brewed, getting trashed on it, and going on a rampage that would make the antics of Animal House look like a Sunday school class. One incident even ended with six elephants getting electrocuted, because when Babar’s family parties, they party hard.
1. Fruit Flies
We’ve all drank away the sorrow of unrequited love, or at least unrequited lust. While we don’t mean to rub salt in the wound, you should know that only one other species has been observed drinking away their heartbreak, and that’s the lowly fruit fly. That fun fact should cheer you up when you’re vomiting on your cat at three in the morning.
In a study on alcohol, scientists let a group of fruit flies score with their lady friends. Then both groups were given a choice between food spiked with alcohol and more traditional fare; the lonely group vastly preferred the Jim Bean special. The study demonstrated that flies and humans process alcohol in similar ways, and also that scientists are dicks.
Drunk flies are still plenty horny, but the alcohol lowers their itty-bitty inhibitions, making anything with a pair of wings and a booty that buzzes look tappable. That includes other males — previously heterosexual flies will go all Oscar Wilde on their buddies if they’re drunk enough. So guys: if you and a friend are ever drinking away your sorrows, don’t get too hammered. Otherwise, you’re going to have one awkward situation in the morning, and only fruit flies to commiserate with.