There are some animals whose attacks are sure to kill. Sometimes they're slow, sometimes they're fast, but they're always deadly. But what about attacks that don't necessarily kill, but do something equally if not more horrifying? What about animal attacks that cause mental illness? Yes, there are some instances in the world where animal bites or encounters can make you crazy. These scary side effects of animal attacks include little tiny bugs to beloved household pets. Is your pet making you crazy? Possibly.
The possibility is far more likely than people think. The truth is there are animals who can attack us threaten not only our bodies, but our minds; animals whose touch can alter the chemical makeup of the brain and drive humans to commit acts they never would on their own.
Companions to humans for at least 4,000 years, domestic cats have been known to lower stress related hypertension and to provide company to people who suffer from chronic feelings of loneliness. But cats have also been known to cause depression and even reckless, almost suicidal behavior in humans. There has also been a conclusive link drawn between cat bites and depression rates in women.
One likely explanation for this connection is the bite of a cat could possibly carry the parasite Toxoplasma Gondii. The bug is transmitted to humans through contact with feces as well as saliva of a cat. There is a Czechoslovakian scientist who believes infection by T. Gondii has made him predisposed to self-destructive behavior and unnatural calmness under fire in Turkish gunfights.
Don't let the tsetse fly's cute name fool you - this little bug is responsible for an extremely lethal disease. Its sounds rather relaxing, but the parasite-driven Sleeping Sickness kills an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people each year, and it’s believed that number is grossly underestimated. Victims of the disease first experience symptoms similar to an allergic reaction with fever, joint pain, and headaches. Eventually however, confusion, lack of coordination, insomnia, psychosis and even paralysis appear.
By then the parasite has passed through the blood-brain barrier, leading to progressive mental deterioration, coma and ultimately death. The tsetse fly is responsible for the overwhelming number of cases of the disease, and has next to no treatment or inoculation measures. The primary treatment for the disease currently involves medication imbued with arsenic that kills about 5 percent of patients.
Placing one’s hands into gloves woven in with bullet ants can definitely be considered extreme behavior, but it pales in relation to the red ant eating rituals of California Indians. In search of a vision quest, young Indian men laying flat on their backs are forcibly fed red ants wrapped in moistened eagle down. Once the youth has ingested as many red ants as he can tolerate, the shaman jabs the youth in the ribs, prompting the ants to bite within the stomach of the young man. Between the pain and the neurotoxin the youth soon witnesses visions and religious insights until passing out to wake with accrued wisdom and empowerment. The ritual may be repeated many times depending on the desired result.
Oh Lassie - say it ain’t so. Sadly, man’s best friend is also one of the primary vectors of rabies infection, up to 99 percent across the globe according to the World Health Organization. It can also be spread by bats, foxes, raccoons, skunks, jackals, mongooses, and most other wild carnivores. Rabies is the granddaddy of mind-crushing diseases. There are two particular effects of rabies and most cases tend to be a combination of the two. The first is known as furious rabies, and can result in mania, fear of light and water, aggression and eventually death. Generally the second massive effect of rabies is slow but steady progressive paralytic rabies, that affects various muscular groups in succession. The two can combine to create a condition of lurching hyper-aggressiveness, and we know that never ends well.