Do Animals Commit Suicide?

Maybe is the brief answer to the question do animals commit suicide. There is a lot of controversy about this topic. Lemmings are, without a doubt in the mere heart of this topic as there are dozens of photographs of them jumping right off the high cliff and getting themselves killed in the collision with water. They are also believed to explode if they are too angry. But before we reveal the truth behind the lemmings we must mention some other animals related to suicide. There are anecdotal reports about pets who refused to eat after their owners and mates died. The death from starvation was the ensuing consequence. However, these statements are not yet proven.

Do Lemmings Really Commit Mass Suicides?

The brief answer is no. Lemmings do not commit mass suicides. However, the myth ensued from a certain type of behavior they manifested. Every three or four years, Lemmings have a population boom. When the area in which they live becomes overpopulated they start mass migration. Lemmings are good swimmers capable of overcoming both rivers and lakes. Some of them drown but that is only a few compared to many and has nothing to do with suicides. But why are there so many pictures of lemmings jumping from the cliff?

Lemmings Being Thrown From The Cliff By Disney Crew

Lemmings Falling From High Clif

Why Do Lemmings Jump From Great Cliffs And End Up Dead?

Lemmings never jumped from high cliffs. Disney crew threw them. Yes. That’s right. Disney crew was the one to threw Lemmings of the cliff and later film them as they float dead in the river. In 1958 Disney was making a documentary movie about wilderness. The name of the movie was White Wilderness.

The Truth Behind White Wilderness

White Wilderness Truth

White Wilderness Disney Movie

In 1958 Disney crew transported a few dozen of lemmings to Alberta, Canada so they could be filmed in their supposed natural habitat. The filmmakers used close-up shots to make it seem like there are thousands of lemmings migrating. First, they took photos of lemmings on the snow. Then they filmed them passing the water stream. After they got all the shots they needed Disney crew used the turntable to launch the lemmings into the river from a cliff and film them to look as if they were jumping down themselves. Then the crew went down the cliff and filmed their floating corpses. It means that Lemmings didn’t kill themselves. They were murdered. As for the explosion part, it is complete nonsense. But if that is true, then are there any animals that commit suicide? It is important to understand what suicide really is.

What Is Suicide?

Suicide is a conscious decision to implement actions that will result in self-destruction for purposes other than altruism.

Suicidal Behaviour In The World Of Animals

Humans are only known beings that use weapons to end their own lives. When it comes to animals, dying to defend their colonies is not so rare occurrence. It is the most common feature of ants and bees. But we already explained that suicide does not encompass altruism. For the rest of the cases, the critical point is in the question if animals are aware that their actions will result in their death. When, for example, dogs refuse food due to their owner’s death, it is not so likely they are aware of their choices leading to the end of their existence. This is why the question remains unasnwered.

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