Briton’s have been warned to stay on the look out for seagulls that are acting erratically, smashing into buildings and cars, and acting drunk.
The seagulls are in fact not drunk but are “tripping on acid” after consuming large numbers of flying ants that contain the chemical. People have been warned across Britain that the seagulls may be a danger to humans and that the affects of eating large quantities of flying ants can last for weeks on the sea birds.
Dr. Rebecca Nesbit of the Society of Biology says the flying ants contain a formic acid which when consumed by the birds can cause the gulls to appear “drunk” or that they are “tripping on acid” as they lose their inhibitions after eating them, according to the Huffington Post.
The recent high temperatures across the country have contributed to the clouds of ants coming to the surface for the seagulls to pick off. The clouds of insects are driven by the heat, but also because the queen ants emerge at this time of year in search of mates, according to ITV. The queen is pursued by millions of male drones and there has been so many flying ants swarming the country that Monday was dubbed “Flying Ant Day.” Most of the insects do not make it back to their nests however, as they are quickly eaten by the seagulls, despite the bugs affecting their cognitive behavior.
The RSPB’s Gull Expert Tony Whitehead says the seagulls have an increased appetite for the bugs and have been seen searching for them in a way that can only be described as addiction.
“The gulls are mad for them,” he said in a statement. “There has been a massive emergence of the ants over the last three days and they are like little treats for the gulls.
“They are like M&Ms to them. They go to wherever they are.
“They either pick them off the ground, or sometimes you see big flocks randomly flying everywhere through the skies to pick them out.
“It was said at one point that they made them drunk, but actually I think they just make them very happy.
“The flying ants and ‘drunk’ seagulls have been seen in Exeter, east and south Devon and locals have been warned that the flying ant problem could last for around two weeks.”
The seagulls “tripping on acid” are not attacking members of the public, but their impaired cognitive abilities mean they are smashing into moving cars, buildings, and even people, causing both harm to themselves and whatever they crash into.
“I have seen the crushed bodies of around half a dozen gulls on main roads around the city,” one Exter motorist told the Daily Star.
“Normally they fly off before getting anywhere near a vehicle, but they just seem to be getting mown down.”
“The ants have been a pain in the last few days in gardens – swarming around.”
“One neighbor was woken late at night by the noise of bats feeding on a swarm of them outside his house.”
Their impaired behavior has been likened to a human getting drunk or taking acid as they steal food, raid bins, and run into things.
While the idea of seagulls getting ‘drunk’ or ‘high’ may seem odd to Americans but this bizarre practice happens every year in Britain. Over the years the date of the ‘Flying Ant Day’ has been getting earlier and earlier, with some experts saying climate change is to blame, according to Express & Echo.
The ants usually come to the surface for a few weeks, but the practice of finding a mate can last for a few months, meaning Brits will have to watch out for the “acid tripping seagulls” for a bit longer yet and may even have to cancel events, as has happened in the past.
[Photo by Harald Lueder/Shutterstock]