We know that animals can suffer from mental health issues in the same way humans do : in particular they feel stress and get depressed, factors contributing to the act of suicide in humans. But is suicide among them? Do animals really, knowingly attempt suicide?
Stress can change the behaviour of an animal in a way that can threaten its life. Many other animals kept in traumatic conditions also experience conditions similar to stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
An even more subtle cause of what may appear to be self-destructive behaviour can also be easily explained. For example, the parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects mice and switches off their innate fear of cats . If the cat eats the mouse, the parasite reproduces. We know that some animals kill themselves.
The question is whether they intend to. It’s a fear of dangerous situations that potentially lead to death.