Are there any hallucinogenic animals? Evolutionary benefit of being hallucinogenic?

Where did the search forum option go, last time I checked it was at the top. They don’t want me to pay for that do they, but anyway.

Are there any hallucinogenic animals, ie animals that when smoked injected/whatever cause some drug-y reaction?
What would the evolutionary advantage of this be? For plants or animals? Why would a plant evolve to be addictive like drugs? What would the benefit to the plant or animal be if another animal became addicted to it?

I know pot has been bred to have more active ingrediant (THC), but what about other drugs, like the cattus the mexicans eat that has hallucinogenic properties, or cocaine? Why would a plant/animal (especially animal, because with a plant, it would probably want it’s seeds dispursed, but I don’t think there is a reason for an animal to be hallucinogenic, it’s not benefical for an animal to have other animals seek it out to get high) evolve to make something want it more?

Note: above, substitue the drug effect of your choice for the questions (i.e. high, etc)

Umpa Lumpas are known to be involved in hallucinations.

Surely there’s a frog whose back you lick to get high? I could have sworn that was true but it may just have been an episode of some groovy funky young people’s show instead. “The Simpstones”, something like that.

Yes, I think the search function has gone pay-per-view, as it were. I have paid and now I’m using it. Look! Look, I’m using it now!

No cite…but I believe there’s uses made by South American tribes of poisons from frogs etc to create hallucinagenic mixtures.

Cane toads.

You’re thinking of any of several species of toads in the genus Bufo, which secrete an hallucinogenic compound called bufotoxin. Fun for everyone!

The reason that plants have hallucciniogenic or other psychoactive substances is basically to screw around with the nervous systems of animals that try to eat them. A bug that eats a psychoactive plant will have its neuroreceptors go haywire and will either fall off the plant or else be easy prey for a predator. It’s a lot more difficult to get away from a praying mantis if you’re stoned or tripping.

These substances are probably directed at insects, but since animal nervous systems use similar transmitters they affect us too, but usually are not lethal if one is careful about the dosage.

A lot of plant plant substances that are lethal to bugs are used by us, at much lower dosages, as flavorings or spices.

Some animal toxins, such as those used by toads, are also psychoactive and used for defense.

Lots. Not just toads and frogs. Many snakes, spider, scorpions, octopus and almost every other major group of animals produce venom or toxins with hallucinogenic effects.

There are also many more species of animals that produce narcotic effects when ingested ranging from snails and butterflies to fish. It is far from being rare.

You have completely the wrong idea here. Plants don’t produce hallucinogens to make themselves addictive. If that were the case they wouldn’t produce the highest concentration of the chemicals in the leaves and buds. The last thing a plant wants is animals eating the leaves.

Plants produce drugs for exactly the opposite reason. The chemicals are produced primarily to discourage animals from eating them. That is why the chemicals are biologically active. These substances are either poisonous, unpleasant or else produce behaviour that makes grazers more susceptible to predation.

And note that these drugs did not evolve for the benefits of humans. They are mostly produced to provide protection form insect attack, although the same chemicals sometimes also provide protection from vertebrate grazers in many cases this isn’t true. Substances like rotenone or pyrethrum don’t have any particular effect on humans at normal doses, but they are lethal to insects.

One you understand why plants produce biologically active compounds you should realise that animals do it for exactly the same reason. A toad or butterfly or fish that makes predators horribly ill has a distinct evolutionary advantage.


The reason peole die from blowfish is not because it’s so hard to clean them (it’s quite easy) but because people want a little of the blowfish poison on which to get high.

I don’t think so.