Alcohol on squirrels, sight and sex

The Malaysian Tree Shrew - commonly wrongly called the house squirrel

Who would have thought Malaysia would make a name for itself as having the world’s greatest drinker?  This relates to the ability of one of nature’s creatures being able to imbibe the equivalent of one case of beer every night without getting drunk!

The Malaysian tree shrew, belonging to the squirrel family and the size of a small rat, has been featured  in countless newspapers throughout the world ( here’s one ) and also in several blogs ( tiny malaysian tree shrews live on alcohol but never gets drunk) and is touted as the world’s heaviest drinker. It also has the dubious reputation of being able to consume large amounts of alcohol without ever getting drunk.  What’s their secret? These animals have an unusual metabolism that can convert alcohol quickly into nontoxic ethyl glucuronide (EtG).This stuff EtG is deposited into the animal’s fur, out of harm’s way. Needless to say, human beings are unable to do this.

Which is why in humans, as more alcohol is consumed, one progresses through various degrees of intoxication. One well-known phenomenon is beer-goggles, the phenomenon used to describe the situation that happens when, as one imbibes more and more, there is a perception that  people around you become increasingly attractive. This is humorously illustrated here:

Which brings us to the effect of alcohol on sex – its been wrongly believed that alcohol has aphrodisiac properties. This is a fallacy as all it does is to lower inhibitions and raises irrational behaviour. In fact, taken regularly , it is a known to even cause erectile dysfunction. Even William Shakespeare knew of its effect when the porter in Macbeth said words to the effect that:

“Alcohol increases the desire but diminishes the performance”.


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