Stories tagged tree shrew

Jul
30
2008

Bud-weis-er: Tree shrews of Malayia have been found to go on two-hour benders each night, drinking "palm beer" from the fermented nectar of palm trees in the rain forests. And they don't even have a hangover the next morning.
Bud-weis-er: Tree shrews of Malayia have been found to go on two-hour benders each night, drinking "palm beer" from the fermented nectar of palm trees in the rain forests. And they don't even have a hangover the next morning.Courtesy S. Karthikeyan
Where are the places that you find high amounts of alcohol consumption? College campuses, sea ports that host sailor shore leaves, NFL stadium parking lots. Now add the Malaysian rain forest to that mix.

It seems that the tiny pen-tailed tree shrew can drink any and all of its larger mammalian cohorts under the table. In fact, life is just one long happy hour for this little creature.

The shrews have a steady diet of “palm beer,” a fermented concoction that occurs in the nectar of flowers of the Bertram palm. Scientists have measured the alcohol content to the “palm beer” to be 3.8 percent, about the same level as most brewed beers.

Through their research, scientists have found the shrews spend about two hours a night guzzling their “palm beer.” And by testing hair samples of the critters, they’ve discovered the beer is their primary food source and that their alcohol consumption is at a rate that would likely kill other mammals.

But don’t set up an intervention and head the pen-tailed shrews off to a 12-step program just yet. Over their 55 million years of existence, they’ve developed a tolerance to alcohol that allows them to have normal functionality despite their heavy beer intake. After all, a drunk shrew is going to be pretty easy pickings for a larger predator. It appears that the shrews have developed a fast-paced metabolism to be able to handle their beer intake with little effect.

So keep this in mind if you’re hosting a kegger any time soon. The more pen-tailed tree shrews you invite, the more beer you’re going to need to have on hand.