We've all heard of strange case of animals throwing themselves off cliffs or deliberately falling. But can an animal really commit suicide?
A little philosophy to start: the idea of suicide implies that one is aware of their own existence, that we have the ability to see into the future and understand that such a move could kill us. It seems that some animals have this consciousness of themselves: dolphins, elephants and some primates.
Scientists have even discovered that rodents can be affected by a parasite that, introduced in their nervous system, would make them attracted to cats! But this is not a form of suicide, strictly speaking. It was also discovered that some species' are programmed to commit suicide when in too much stress or for the good of the community.
But for most of the time, when people think that an animal has committed suicide, it is misinterpretation: if the scorpion seems to frantically sting itself, it is because they are cowering because of the heat. And cetaceans do not voluntarily beach themselves: when an animal is lost, it emits an ultrasound to join the rest of the group. And sometimes the whole group is caught in a trap.
In all cases, an animal will never intentionally cause their own death: human beings have the monopoly on suicide.