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article imageThings we didn't know - 'stoned' animals make crop circles

By Stephanie Dearing     Jun 26, 2009 in Science
The puzzler over who was responsible for crop circles in Tasmania was put to rest with the recent discovery that Wallabies, who after eating some of the poppy crops, hop around in circles in the fields.
Apparently Wallabies are not the only animals affected so by the poppies, grown for morphine and other related opiates. Farmers said that deer and sheep also eat the poppies and then walk in circles. Recently, Tasmania's Attorney-General, Lara Giddings, was answering questions at a budget estimates hearing, and she had told the hearing about the wallabies getting into the fields.
According to Australian newspaper, The Mercury, the poppy crop circles had become something of a "campfire" legend. Poppy growers say they try to discourage animals from eating the poppies, especially sheep and deer, as they are concerned about how the poppies might affect the meat of the animals. Apparently theft of some of the poppy crops (the flower heads) has increased, and Australia will be looking at licensing and other security measures.
Tasmania is one of the world's largest growers of opium poppies for the pharmaceutical market. The crop is very important to Tasmania's economy. There are over 1,400 farmers that grow poppies on some 20,000 hectares of land in Tasmania. The poppy industry is one of Tasmania's largest employer.
More about Tasmania, Wallabies, Opium, Poppies, Animals
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