Are you familiar with the Marula tree? If not, it’s a beautiful African tree that produces wonderful and tasty fruits! Yummy fruits, which apparently make elephants drunk…? The story has been going on for ages…so much so that it has even become a liquor, called “Amarula” for connoisseurs (very tasty by the way, a little like Bailey’s)!
The story is traced back to the 1970s (1974 to be exact), when a guy by the name of Jamie Uys produced two documentaries called “Beautiful People” (he also directed “The Gods Must Be Crazy”). The footage, among other things showing wild animals getting drunk after eating the marula fruits, became an immediate hit (and even received an award for best documentary). Since then millions of people are still persuaded that elephants do indeed get drunk with such “potent” fruits! The question is: is it true?
Genuine Info or Total Fallacy?
Sorry to disappoint you, but (un)fortunately (depends how you see it…) the story is absolutely false! In fact, Jamie Uys’ footage was totally staged and the animals were in fact fed with alcohol (hard to believe I know…). The directors soaked the food and then filmed it! Today the film would’ve made a scandal, but back then it was another story!
Apparently, if this whole “myth” was to be true, any person (or animal) would have to ingest 25% of its own body weight in fruit (in one go) in order to get drunk from it. Not very realistic!;)
Marula fruits are very rich in vitamin C, and the nut is full of protein! In other words, the fruit is not only a delicacy for elephants, but also for most of the animals of the African savanna! Impalas, kudus, nyalas, baboons, warthogs and other creatures also feed on this delicious treat. They either get it directly from the ground, or thanks to the pachyderms that shake the trees to reach their prize.