Japanese Squirrels Eat Poisonous Mushrooms and Do Not Die
10:51 GMT 05.02.2022 (Updated: 13:32 GMT 06.08.2022)
© Wikipedia / BirdPhotos.com Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
© Wikipedia / BirdPhotos.com
When consumed by humans, amanita mushrooms can cause hallucinations, seizures, comas and even death.
Japanese scientist Kenji Suetsugu, an associate professor at the Department of Biology at Kobe University, and photographer Koichi Gomi, shared a remarkable observation in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment recently.
They found out that squirrels in Japan can safely consume highly poisonous mushrooms on a daily basis.
"I was genuinely surprised. I was afraid the squirrel might get an upset stomach...But the same individual squirrel returned a few days later to continue feeding on a panther cap mushroom, leading us to conclude that it is highly probable that these squirrels can safely consume poisonous mushrooms," Suetsugu said, as quoted by Newsweek.
© AFP 2023 / DAMIEN MEYERA fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) fungus is one of the most iconic and distinctive of fungi, with its red cap and white spots, is renowned for its toxicity and hallucinogenic properties.
A fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) fungus is one of the most iconic and distinctive of fungi, with its red cap and white spots, is renowned for its toxicity and hallucinogenic properties.
© AFP 2023 / DAMIEN MEYER
These mushrooms, known as amanita muscaria or fly amanita mushroom, are very poisonous to other animals and humans and can cause hallucinations, delirium, seizures, and - rarely - death.
Suetsugu believes there can be a "symbiotic relationship" between the squirrels and amanita mushrooms since the animals could be helping spread the mushrooms' spores. But how do squirrels safely eat these poisonous mushrooms? This matter has yet to be investigated.