I've got it all figured out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ask the Magic Internet a Stupid Question No. 0022

Last weekend the made for TV movie Escape from Gilligan's Island was on. I didn't watch it. Gilligan's Island was a pretty stupid show and I can't imagine that the TV movie they made 20 years later was any better. Apparently they make it off the island but then have trouble readjusting to society. Seeing as the movie was made in 1978 I assume they became insane discoing coke heads.

File Video: The effects of cocaine on society.

But that got me thinking. On Gilligan's Island they were always finding things on the island. They'd been on that god damn little island for years and yet it was, Hey I never noticed this Japanese sub here before little buddy.

I told you it was a stupid show.

And it was always something useful. Something that might help get them off the island. Well what if a suitcase full of blow washed up on shore? What would they do with that? In the real world they'd be so bored that they'd probably do it all and degenerate into some sort of primitive Lord of the Fliesesque state that culminates in the Skipper being eaten alive and Mary Anne being sacrificed to appease the empty suitcase that has become their new god in hopes that it refills its self.

The best meat's in the rump.

But what if they tried to make it useful. What could they do with it? I know the Professor would probably spout something about it being good as an anesthetic but does it have to end there? Maybe they could sprinkle it on food scraps and slowly get forest animals addicted to it until they could use it as bait. Can animals even get addicted to drugs? I've read about some getting drunk from fermented fruit and I know all chimps love to smoke.

But what about class A drugs? Better tell the head hunters to truss up Mary Anne and plug in my USB powered Still Beating Heart Remover because it's time for me to make a sacrifice to my god.... the Magic Internet.

Question 22: Can animals become addicted to drugs?

Magic Internet Answer: Yes, animals can most certainly become addicted to drugs. Many animals in the wild are known to eat certain fruits or inhale smoke from forest fires in order to obtain mind altering effects. Birds, in particular, are susceptible to this behaviour. Some birds even partake in a ritual known as myrmecomany. This involves a bird allowing its self to be covered by ants. The ants secrete a type of formic acid that sends the bird into an ecstatic state.


Plus these:

Equals this:

Another good example can be seen in domesticated animals. Most people are familiar with cats' predisposition towards catnip and the effect it has on them.

And the joy and ecstasy that a dog gets from rolling in dead things.

There is even a story on National Public Radio about a dog that became addicted to licking toads.

The important point that is to be gleaned from this is that animals partaking in these behaviours are seeking out stimuli beyond the primal urges of food, reproduction and self-defence. But these are also examples of animals seeking out relatively natural  stimulants in their habitat. In order to answer your question fully we must look at examples of animals being introduced to human narcotics. One would think that a perfect test subject would be a drug sniffing dog. Here is an animal that is constantly introduced to a variety of class A narcotics.

The Aristocrats!

There is a wide spread rumour that some handlers, particularly in third world countries, quick-train their dogs to sniff out drugs by getting the dog addicted to drugs and then rewarding it with drugs. It is very doubtful that this is true. A dog's superior sense of smell allows it to break down scents into their component parts. Most drug sniffing dogs are trained with a sudo. A toy covered in one of the component chemicals found in drugs that is non-toxic. When a drug sniffing dog is seeking out drugs, it is actually seeking out it's toy. When drugs have been successfully found, the dog is given its toy and forgets all about the drugs it found. Having a drug sniffing dog that is actually addicted to drugs would be very counterproductive and of little real use to law enforcement.

File Photo: Dog of little real use to law enforcement.

There is however a group of French and British scientists that have successfully proven that rats can become addicted to cocaine and display the same signs of addiction as humans. Researchers at the National Institute for Research and Health in France trained rats to poke their noses through holes in their cages to obtain cocaine. Of all the rats that recieved cocaine about 17% were concidered addicts.

The 17%

And of those 90% resumed cocaine use after being forced to abstain for 30 days. These results were published in an issue of Journal Science. A similar study published in the same issue had scientists at Cambridge University showing that addicted rats would still pursue cocaine even if it resulted in electric shock. Seeking drugs despite punishment is a true sign of addiction. So provided that Gilligan and the Skipper too could devise a way to allow the island's animal inhabitants to begin ingesting the drug, it is quite possible that they could use it as bate in future traps.

Or better yet, Magic I,  they could all get torn apart by coked up monkeys. Either scenario is fine by me, as long as Thurston Howell the III makes it out alive. I kinda liked him.

Check you later lovies.


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