Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stoned Animals

In another forum, I posted a picture of Datura found in copious amounts in the fields on Monday.
Anyone up for some astral projection? Datura. Out of body experiences available everyday in Maryland and Virginia fields. Don't blame me if you lose some tiles on re-entry. Smoking toad skins is a better buzz. 

The question came up: why do animals eat it? Accident? Thrill seeking?

In his book IntoxicationRonald K. Siegel notes that many animals like to get stoned.
After sampling the numbing nectar of certain orchids, bees drop to the ground in a temporary stupor, then weave back for more. Birds gorge themselves on inebriating berries, then fly with reckless abandon. Cats eagerly sniff aromatic “pleasure” plants, then play with imaginary objects. Cows that browse special range weeds will twitch, shake, and stumble back to the plants for more. Elephants purposely get drunk off fermented fruits. Snacks of “magic mushrooms” cause monkeys to sit with their heads in their hands in a posture reminiscent of Rodin’s Thinker. The pursuit of intoxication by animals seems as purposeless as it is passionate. Many animals engage these plants, or their manufactured allies, despite the danger of toxic or poisonous effects.

Ok.  But why do some animals like to get stoned? And the short answer is for the same reason people do -- they over-indulge either by mistake or because it feels goods.

Of course, for the most part over-indulgence is maladaptive behavior.

The waxwing drunk on berry juice is just waiting to be picked off by a hawk, the cow stoned on opium poppies is just waiting to be mauled by a dog.

Still, the lure of anesthesia and the excitement of transcendence is a powerful call.  Plus, if the police show up, you can say you made a mistake or were "over-served."  That worked for W.C. Fields!

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