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Psychedelic Encounters: Mind-Altering Adventures of the Animal Kingdom


Original author: Jefferson Matthew VanBilliard – Double Blind Magazine

Nature is full of psychedelic encounters that extend beyond human experience. Animals have discovered ways to tap into the realm of mind-altering substances, allowing them to explore alternate states of consciousness just as we do.

Wallabies in Australia have been known to consume opium poppies, resulting in them exhibiting erratic behavior and creating crop circles as they hop around in disoriented stupor. The opium poppies are grown legally for medicinal purposes, but the wallabies manage to find their way into the fields and indulge in the psychotropic plants.

Lemurs and capuchin monkeys in Madagascar and South America have been observed engaging in a peculiar behavior called “anting.” They rub ants, millipedes, or other insects on their fur, which release defensive secretions containing chemicals like formic acid. It’s believed that these chemicals not only help ward off parasites but also provide the animals with a mild intoxicating sensation, causing them to display an almost trance-like state.

Birds, too, have found their way to intoxication. Cedar waxwings and robins are known to consume overripe berries that have fermented, resulting in the production of alcohol. These birds can become quite inebriated, leading to disoriented flying and sometimes even fatal accidents.

Spiders, on the other hand, have been exposed to various mind-altering substances by researchers in controlled experiments. Scientists have observed that when spiders are given small doses of psychoactive substances like LSD, caffeine, or marijuana, their web-building abilities are significantly impacted, resulting in erratic and less structured webs.

These instances reveal that the animal kingdom has its fair share of psychedelic exploration, with creatures finding ways to indulge in mind-altering substances available in nature. While their motives may differ from those of humans, the fact remains that the pursuit of altered states is not exclusive to our species. This captivating aspect of nature reminds us of the interconnectedness of life and the myriad ways in which animals seek to enhance their experiences. Follow this link to the full article.