I'm continuing with the theme of animals that like to get high or drunk. After all, why would humans be the only creatures craving the recreational effects of mind-altering drugs? Here's another example.
Did you know VERVET MONKEYS introduced to some Caribbean islands 300 years ago have developed a taste for alcohol? These monkeys originated in Africa, but slavers took them across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, where the monkeys either escaped or were released on several islands. They thrived and formed stable populations.
For the last 300 years, these vervet monkeys have been living on islands where sugar cane is the dominant crop grown by farmers. Before being harvested, the sugar cane will sometimes ferment. The vervet monkeys discovered the fermented cane juice and have considered it a treat ever since. Basically, they developed a taste for the alcoholic cane juice and the resulting effects.
Recent studies have shown that about 20% of the monkeys now prefer to drink sugar water mixed with alcohol over plain sugar water. But the research doesn't stop there. Interestingly, younger monkeys (the equivalent of teenagers) do most of the drinking. The researchers suggest that the older monkeys avoid the alcohol because they have to be "more alert and perceptive of the social dynamics of the group." So, the monkeys apparently reach a point in their lives where they decide to leave behind the heavy drinking and awful hangovers. Hmm... perhaps there is a lesson in there somewhere.
There are numerous stories from Caribbean islands of sneaky vervet monkeys stealing colorful cocktails from distracted tourists and happily guzzling them.
- Vervet monkeys - DepositPhotos
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