Watch deer get their kicks on nitrous oxide emitted by decomposing leaves

Originally published at: Watch deer get their kicks on nitrous oxide emitted by decomposing leaves | Boing Boing


I wonder if hunter gatherers noted this aspect in Cervidae behavior and lured them into the ill understood mulchy kill zone for subsistence and feasts? (Me? How in the fuck could you kill something being so cute?)


I’m suspecting there’s more than nitrous oxide at play. For one, the concentration of the gas is probably very low, and for another, deer – even juveniles – are pretty decent sized. To get enough of the gas, I’d imagine they’d also need to hold their heads down in the compost far longer to get a good huff.

This reminds me more of cats on catnip, where just one sniff is enough to trigger intoxication. Maybe there’s some other compound present in the leaves which mimics pheromones or maybe is a psychoactive particular to deer?

Or maybe deer are particularly susceptible to NO2? There’s very little literature stating anything about deer and intoxication by airborne molecules.


This is gonna be bigger than Tide Pods…


I think we’ve put our finger on the origins of “reindeer games”…


Was thinking that too. I’ve been around plenty of leaf piles in my time and never had the urge to head bang.

Seems theres more than that going on, the post about ‘catnip’ effect seems more likely. Incidentally my dog does this with any peanut butter dog treat, goes nuts and then tries to bury it!


I don’t buy it. The laughing gas you get at the dentist is in concentrated form, breathed through a mask for an extended time to get the desired effect. I’ve never had that, but I’ve tried whippits before, and only ever got results identical to a normal head rush. I don’t believe that the tiny amounts that exude from a leaf pile can possibly get deer high. Maybe they just like the weather and enjoy the outdoors?


I’ve never ever heard of this. I feel like if you could get high huffing leaves, even for a second, we’d see junkies stealing peoples yard waste and piling it up in their back yards.


not magic mushrooms then…


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