Continuing with the theme of animals that like to get high or drunk.
Did you know black lemurs like to get high on millipedes? The lemurs bite the millipedes, resulting in a narcotic effect.
Madagascar has some pretty big arthropods (ever hear of the Madagascan hissing cockroach?), including some large millipedes. Lemurs typically eat fruit, but sometimes they will capture a large millipede and gently bite it, not even hard enough to kill it.
This bite causes the millipede to squirt out defense chemicals from glands in its legs (millipedes have a lot of legs). The lemur then discards the millipede and rubs the defense chemicals all over its fur. The millipede's toxic secretions contain cyanide and benzoquinone, which act as insect repellent on the lemur's body. This in itself is fascinating—an animal using natural insect repellent, not only preventing the discomfort of insect bites but also preventing insect-borne diseases such as malaria.
But wait, there's more to the story. The toxins also have a narcotic effect on the lemur, and the lemur starts drooling and goes into an intoxicated state, in which it appears to be lethargic and blissful.
Hmm... is this why the lemurs on the movie Madagascar seem so goofy?
Below are male and female black lemurs.
- Female and male black lemurs - DepositPhotos
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