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If you got a headache
you got a stash of ibuprofen or whatever to help
put you to rights, right?
But if you're an animal,
they can't just pop down to the nearest Walgreens when they got a tummy ache.
So how do they cure what ails them?
Well it turns out, some animals have figured out
how to self medicate using some pretty weird stuff.
Birds have trouble with parasites.
I mean, who doesn't?
But for birds its really important to stay clean 'cause
if you got a bunch of mites gnawing on your feathers
you're not gonna be able to do all your fun bird stuff
like flyin around.
So a lot of them, around 250 species, do this thing
called Anting.
They hunker down on top of an anthill,
and let hundreds of ants swarm all over them!
Sounds like fun, right?
Well the ants secrete chemicals like Formic Acid,
which is the stuff that makes ant bites sting,
but it also helps keep mites away, and other pests,
and it's even thought to soothe bird's skin
that's been irritated by molting.
Apparently it even feels so good that sometimes birds will scoop up
huge beak fulls of ants and squash them,
rubbing the ant mush all over themselves.
Corvids, which include Magpies, Jays, and Crows,
seem to be especially fond of this.
And while the occasional anting can be a healthful and invigorating activity,
some birds,
into it,
like, really into it.
Some scientists think that bids can actually become
anting addicts.
Just like other kinds of self medication, some birds
carry their anting to the point where it's actually hurting
other aspects of their lives
and they're basically just
sitting in an ant pile all day.
It's pitiful, really.
Our second example,
Passing the Milipede.
Non-Human primates have a knack for finding
medicine in the wild and much like an anting bird
Capuchin Monkeys in South America
have discovered the healing powers of poisonous millipedes.
Capuchins hunt down a particular species of milipede
called O. Dorsovittatus.
So they can rub it all over their bodies.
They do this because the millipedes are filled with Benzoquinones.
An insecticide many times more toxic
that any deep woods bug repellent you've ever used.
Not only do Benzoquinones pretoect
the monkeys during the crazy annual mosquito season
they also repel botflies
which can lay eggs under a monkey's skin,
forming a dangerous festering cyst
that will eventually,
and maggots will erupt from it.
but the problem with this whole scenario
is that the Capuchins have to make the millipede mad
before it will release it's insecticidal toxins.
So the monkeys
the millipede, which tastes terrible
and are obviously really poisonus,
and then they rub the angry bugs all over themselves.
So a bunch of Capuchins will like,
sit in a circle,
passing a single milipede around
biting it,
and then rubbin it on themselves.
It's kinda sweet, actually.
Our third and final example,
eating vines.
You know how a cat
eat some grass when it's tummy's upset
and then barf,
and feel better?
Well in the Amazonian rainforest,
Jaguars do the same kinda thing but just a little bit more Intense
Jaguars have been known to eat Yage.
A common vine in the Amazon that's used by native people
to, mostly in religious ceremonies in a drink,
called Ayahuasca.
So Yage,
it turns out
contains compounds called Beta Carboline Alkaloids.
Which make people barf!
And have Diarrhea like crazy!
Native people actually refer to Ayahuasca as La Purga
or, The Purge.
But, the chemicals that cause this purging also cause
intense hallucinations!
By blocking your brain's ability to reabsorb Serotonin
Now nobody knows exactly whether Yage has the same
psychoactive effect on jaguars
'cause it turns out it's pretty difficult to study the brain chemistry
of a jaguar that's trippin out on drugs
But it certainly purges their system of parasites
Which im sure
Is totally worth it
Thank you for self medicating yourself
with this episode of SciShow
If you want to keep getting smarter with us
you can go to youtube.com/scishow
and subscribe
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Animals That Do Drugs

94 Folder Collection
Sophie published on November 19, 2019
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