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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.

  • [Intro]

  • Anting!

  • 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,

  • get,

  • 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,

  • explode!

  • 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

  • bite

  • 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

  • taking,

  • biting it,

  • and then rubbin it on themselves.

  • It's kinda sweet, actually.

  • Our third and final example,

  • Jaguars

  • 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

  • [Outro]

If you got a headache

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B2 US ant millipede ayahuasca bird tummy rub

Animals That Do Drugs

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    Sophie posted on 2019/11/19
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