Noah's Bar

The animals downed them two-by-two, hurrah


Out at sea, with all of the animals on Noah’s Ark, I contemplate who would join me at the bar? Is to relish that sweet thrill from the first sip of beer a uniquely human trait or, in fact, might other species go in search of the natural high of fermented grains and fruit? Having found a drinking companion, which animals could drink me under the table and which would need an early taxi home? We’ve put together a short list of kindred spirits. While it is not exhaustive, I hope it provides ample inspiration for your next YouTube rabbit hole.

‘The Liability’ The Swedish Moose (Alces alces)

Now, I understand that in the animal kingdom, on a genetic level, we are all closer than we realise. However it’s not until you observe other drunk mammals making poor life choices that you feel this animal kinship. Meet my spirit animal and patronus, the Swedish Moose (Elk). Sweden, the land of Ikea, liberal coronavirus policies and, come autumn, a plentiful supply of fallen, fermenting apples. As the leaves turn golden, majestic hordes of Moose descend upon Swedish towns, eat the rotting apples and wreak havoc. In their scholarly article “Drunk Swedish Moose Epidemic Defies Science,” Kavanaugh et. al. describe drunk Elk getting stuck in trees, desecrating shoe shops, falling into swimming pools and – to the horror of pearl-clutching locals – indulging in the occasional public threesome. Never afraid to get a party started, these loose moose are one bar companion not to miss if you’re looking for a good time. 

‘The Heavyweight’ The Pentailed Treeshrew (Ptilocercus lowii)

With up to 3.8% alcoholic content, the yeast-fermented nectar of the flower buds from the Bertram palm (Eugeissona tristis) is a potent cocktail for many Malaysian mammals. The ‘Bertram Bar’ is most popular at night, where you may share a pint of nectar with squirrels, rats, slow loris and promisan primates, but none is more formidable than the pentailed treeshrew. Weighing in at 47g and fitting in the palm of your hand, this heavyweight will drink you under the palm leaf every day of the week, literally. They consume the alcoholic nectar all night, imbibing the treeshrew equivalent of 10 pints of beer, every night. Despite the fact they would be completely intoxicated by any human standards, scientists have shown that they somehow have evolved not to get drunk. A word of caution if you’re doing rounds. 

‘The Minesweeper’ The Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus Pygerythrus)

Like many of us, Vervet Monkeys began young on fermented sugar canes, but have risen to become true connoisseurs of the Caribbean cocktail scene. As you drift off into a rum-induced, sun-soaked torpor on your lounger (we can dream), these light fingered pilferers will guzzle your dregs. So prolific is their minesweeping, scientists have studied them to understand human alcohol consumption. Back to our bar now: to order correctly for a Vervet Monkey, you must first appraise whether they are a tee-totaller, social, regular, or binge drinker. Approximately one in six vervet monkeys are tee-total, so a banana smoothie will suffice. Most are ‘social’ drinkers – the kind of drinker you tell your doctor that you are – never drinks alone, never before noon, but if you twist my arm I’ll have a Mai Tai most days. The regular drinker is your quintessential functioning alcoholic – no fuss, rum on the rocks and if anyone monkeys around (sorry not sorry) they’ll sort them out. The binge drinker – we’ll call him Barry, as it seems as good as any other name for a wasted monkey – is here for a good time, not for a long time. Don’t worry about buying Barry a drink, he’s already stolen yours and will pass out shortly. 

‘The Bouncer’ The Bee (Apis mellifera)

Now, with Swedish Elk and Barry on the loose, things could easily get out of hand. Fear not, for on Noah’s Ark we have a fearsome, leg breaking law enforcer aboard: the bouncer bee. The life of a worker bee is one of tireless effort in a rigorously strict hive monarchy. Progressing from mortuary work, pollen packing, honeycomb building and attending the queen bee, older established worker bees are given the honour of foraging for their hive for pollen and nectar. Now occasionally, a foraging bee may stumble across fermented sap or nectar and, in apiological terms, get a nice little buzz going. Flying under the influence is difficult and drunk bees are more bumbly than ever, making their return to the hive somewhat comical. Step in the bouncer bee, with their zero alcohol policy. Drunk bees will be forced to stay outside and sober up, while repeat offenders will be punished in the form of amputation or decapitation. You have been warned. This is probably not the origin of the term ‘legless’, but we choose to believe it is.

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