Yep and strangely enough…
Animals are continually confronted with disease and infection, but luckily the natural world is a veritable pharmacy. The study of what animals do when they are sick – called zoopharmacognosy – began in 1978.
“Self-medication can take many forms and occurs widely across the entire animal kingdom,” says primatologist Michael Huffman from Kyoto University in Japan. “But we still have a lot to learn in this area.”
Take prenatal drugs
Huffman and his team saw pregnant sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi), a species of lemur in Madagascar, eating the leaves and bark of fig and tamarind trees in the weeks before giving birth. Small doses of these tannins stimulate milk production and kill gut parasites, and the group that ate the tannins had fewer failed pregnancies than a group of sifakas that didn’t.
Like something out of a horror movie, flies crawl inside the woolly bear caterpillar (Grammia geneura) and lay eggs. The caterpillar becomes paralysed and when the fly larvae hatch, they eat the caterpillar alive. But it has some defence.
In 2005, entomologists Elizabeth Bernays and Michael Singer from the University of Arizona reported that infected woolly bears seek non-nutritive leaves from threadleaf groundsel (Senecio longilobus). These leaves contain a toxic compound, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can kill parasitic fly larvae.
Just as we have our coffee in the morning, Chacma baboons (Papio Ursinus) in South Africa are known to occasionally consume a small quantity of leaves from Euphorbiaceae plants. These plants are not part of their regular diet. Researchers from the University of California, Davis classify them as ‘euphorics’ as baboons consumed them consistently but only in minute quantities. Euphorbiaceae plants are known for their stimulant properties, however, studies into the plant’s full pharmacological benefits are ongoing.
Use insect repellent
Wedge-capped capuchin monkeys (Cebus olivaceus) that live in the tropical rainforests of Venezuela protect themselves from mosquitoes by using insect repellent. Instead of a bottle of spray, however, capuchins reach for a millipede (Orthoporus dorsovittatus) to rub over its body. Millipedes secrete benzoquinones, a potent insect repellent.
Irrigate their colon
Researchers from Kyoto University observed sick chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the forests of Tanzania folding Aspilia leaves and swallowing them whole. The physical irritation produced by the bristly leaves on an empty stomach increases gut motility and secretion resulting in diarrhoea. This sheds the body of parasitic worms, a major cause of illness in chimps.
Fumigate their nests
Dusky-footed wood rats (Neotoma fuscipes ) that occupy forested areas in California engage in nest fumigation behaviour to control fleas, ticks and mites. Animals that rest in nests or burrows are particularly susceptible to nest-borne parasites that carry disease.
In 2002, researchers from Vassar College in New York showed that dusky-footed wood rats place bay leaves in their sleeping nests and regularly make tears in them to release fumigating vapours, significantly reducing parasite survival. [Click here to read FULL list]
The fact that man has SO much he can learn from Mother Nature if he just opens himself to the FACT that MN knows best- Who would have seen THIS one coming, eh?
*waves hand madly in the air* “Me, me, me!”
*whispers harshly* “You don’t count.”
I’m so strict, yeah? Jeez.
*rubs arm, pouting*