The term “Suicide” is derived from the Latin word “Suicidium” which means “The act of taking one’s own life”. It ’s kind of a self-destruction that human beings use to end their lives. There could be many reasons why someone attempts suicide, Doctors have claimed that “a person who is suffering from some kind of a mental illness are often the ones who perform suicide”. Here mental illness includes depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and a lot of others.
Suicide in humans-
You must have heard about numerous suicidal instances on the news saying “ a teenage boy attempted suicide because he couldn’t score well in exams” or “ a celebrity ended her life after years of suffering from depression”. Sometimes, some cases get innumerable media coverage like that of Robin Williams, a famous American actor, and comedian, who died by hanging himself at his home in Paradise Cay, California. He was suffering from depression.
Most of us have heard about the death of the famous bombshell, Marilyn Monroe. She put an end to her own life due to substance abuse. All of these occurrences have shown that suicidal thoughts are not selective. It can happen to anyone, any day. So do you think, in this gigantic world, suicidal notions only prey upon human beings?
Do you think animals too, can commit suicide?
We all know that animals do not think like human beings but, does that mean that they deprived of all the emotions like love, sorrow, and hate?
Scientific researches have reported that many animals turn to self-destructive mood, displaying a way of grieving if their owner or their mating partner dies. Some starve themselves to death while some others show signs of depression that eventually lead to their demise.
One of the most famous cases of animal suicides was that of the Newfoundland dog who was acting depressed over a period of days and was seen throwing himself in the water and his endeavor to sink by preserving perfect stillness of the legs and the feet. He was rescued several times but he attempted to do it again and again. This story was covered by the Illustrated London News in the year 1845.
Another famous example is the popular dolphin from the 1960’s television show “Flipper” who took her own life in front of her trainer Richard O’Barry, who said that he saw the dolphin drown herself before him.
Sacrificing for others-
Animal suicide is not only about animals taking their own lives due to some kind of sorrow but sometimes, they sacrifice themselves for the community, For example, Pea aphids will sometimes explode to protect other aphids from ladybugs. Same goes for Camponotus Saundersi, (Malaysian worker ants) who are capable of committing suicide by exploding.
Parasites prompt suicide-
Some scientists have stated that there’s no such thing as “Animal suicide” but yes, there are a few parasites that lead an animal to perpetuate self-destruction.
This act can mostly be seen in rodents when infected by a parasite named Toxoplasma Gondii. There are many examples where these rodents became mentally unstable and they started thinking that they were really powerful. Funny, right?
Because of this misconception, they did not defend themselves when they were being chased by a cat.
It will be safe to say that many animal suicides are due to some kind of parasites. But, it still doesn’t provide answers to questions like why the Newfoundland dog attempted to kill itself so many times or how Flipper, the dolphin, drowned herself to death? Reports state that none of them were infected by any parasites.
So, Do animals really commit suicide? The question remains. It is still debatable.
Since animals do not excrete hormones for different types of emotion like human beings do, then why do they reportedly suffer from depression and try to destroy themselves?
Maybe animals are not as emotionless as we think they are.