Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ted Kennedy's Favorite Buddy...Err...Pet

Shrew identified as world's hardest drinking creature

Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter

A tropical shrew with a taste for alcoholic nectar has been identified as the hardest-drinking creature in the world.

Pentailed tree shrews have such an appetite for alcohol that each night they imbibe, weight for weight, the equivalent of a human downing up to nine glasses of wine.

Their capacity to hold their drink and keep a clear head, however, puts human boozers to shame. After a night supping at the jungle bar the shrews are not even unsteady on their feet, let alone being copiously sick or starting drunken fights.

They get their drinks from bertam palms, which grow in the jungles of West Malaysia and produce nectar boasting an alcohol content that can match beer.

The strength of the nectar varies but it is sufficiently loaded for the shrews to be drunk every three nights if they got inebriated as easily as people.

Pentailed tree shrews, Ptilocercus lowii, were described by scientists studying them as chronic drinkers with such a high alcoholic consumption that their habit would be likely to kill other mammals, including humans.

The rest of the story here

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