Treeshrews drink alcohol

This is a pen-tailed treeshrew video.

By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News:

Tree Shrew Lives on Nature-Brewed Beer

July 28, 2008 — Even the most ardent beer fans would have trouble subsisting on their favorite brew day in and out, but scientists have just discovered that the pentailed treeshrew lives off a frothy, fermented nectar that smells like beer and has its same alcohol content.

Humans previously were thought to be the only animals that regularly imbibed alcohol, but the soft-furred, slender treeshrews drink far more than most humans ever could for their body weight, and have been doing so for up to 55 million years.

But are the treeshrews forever tipsy?

“They show no obvious signs of drunkenness when observed from only 9.8 feet away,” lead author Frank Wiens told Discovery News. “However we do not rule out psychopharmacological effects induced by alcohol.”

“On the contrary, I believe that some psychological effects induced by alcohol, such as effects on the brain, mood and learning, are crucial in this system,” added Wiens, a researcher in the Department of Animal Physiology at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.

Wiens and his team made the discovery, outlined in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, after first detecting a “strong alcoholic smell reminiscent of a brewery” from flowers of the bertam palm in the West Malaysian rainforest Segari Melintang Forest Reserve in the State of Parak. Nectar from this plant frequently frothed up and out of the palm’s long, tubular flowers.

The researchers conducted video surveillance of visitors to the plant and determined that many species bellied up to the bar-like scene, particularly at night, when the number of visits more than doubled. Nocturnal imbibers included the gray tree rat, the Malayan wood rat, the chestnut rat, the slow loris and the pen-tailed treeshrew.

The latter two animals spent far more time than the others did moving up and down the palm flowers and licking off the available nectar and pollen. The shrews stayed an average of 138 minutes per night, while the lorises fed for an average of 86 minutes each night.

The natural brew contains up to 3.8 percent alcohol, which is very close to the alcohol content of most human-manufactured beers.

See also here.

The Slow Loris: Nature’s Most Adorable Lethal Weapon: here.

5 thoughts on “Treeshrews drink alcohol

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  4. Pingback: Bornean treeshrews and heat, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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