Addictive Behavior in Free Ranging Animals

  • P. Leyhausen
Conference paper
Part of the Bayer-Symposium book series (BAYER-SYMP, volume 4)


As I have not been able to find any well documented case of free ranging animals under undisturbed conditions in the wilds becoming truly addicted to anything, the title of this paper is somewhat misleading. What I shall, however, try to do is point out some of the conditions present in every animal far enough up the evolutionary scale which under certain circumstances will make possible or even favour the development of addictive behavior and dependence. The nearest I could find to addictive behavior in a “wild” animal is the well-known case of elephants which march for many miles when the mango fruit ripens and starts fermenting on the trees until it contains a quantity of alcohol. The elephants eat this fruit and get rather tipsy on it. However, they do not become alcoholics, for the very obvious reason that the fruit is not available all the year round.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Leyhausen
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für VerhaltensphysiologieWuppertal 1W.-Germany

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