You may remember my story about how the cows of India like to sit on the side of the road so they can inhale the car and bus fumes to get high – you can read it here.
I have learned that the bright green parrots that are ubiquitous in India are also looking for a buzz as well.
It appears that these birds have discovered the opium poppy fields in the Madhya Pradesh region of central India and are finding that the opium sap, seeds and pods are giving them an energy boost that would put Red Bull to shame.
The opium farmers (who I think must have government licenses to grow and market the poppies) are obviously not happy about their yields being compromised by the flying marauders and have employed various methods to scare the parrots away, but even loudspeakers and firecrackers are of no use. It has been reported that the birds have been using stealth, swooping down in silence rather than with their usual squawks in order to get their stash:
Many animals are known to take advantage of the mind altering side effects of eating certain potent plants. – including South East Asian water buffalo who also seem to have a jones for opium. The animals appear to become quite docile and often wander away from the herd.
In the water buffalo’s case, the addiction doesn’t appear to last long. The poppy pods only contain high levels of opium for a brief period.. The water buffalo return to normal after the ripening period is over.
However, they do exhibit such withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, restlessness and convulsions.
I have not found any reports on the long-range effects of digesting opium for the parrots – but can’t imagine it is a healthy thing for them to do.
Try telling that to the parrots.