Mental Health

Zoanthropy: Aren’t we all animals after all?

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Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

What is zoanthropy?

Sometimes being a human can be hard and depressing, this can in rare cases lead to zoanthropy.

Clinical zoanthropy is a rare delusion in which a person believes himself or herself to be an animal.

According to researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium, while most of the 260 million people worldwide who suffer from depression will have common symptoms, such as sadness, fatigue, disinterest, and sleeplessness, an exceedingly rare few could lose their humanity completely by assuming the identity of an animal.

First known case of zoanthropy

The first known case of zoanthropy is King Nebuchadnezzar. The bible tells us that he conquered Israel twice and that he destroyed the Solomon temple. God finally condemned him to live like a cow.


Reading the Bible we come across the following passage about King Nebuchadnezzar: “He has driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.” —Daniel 4:33

Last known case of zoanthropy

According to the New York Post, this same condition recently happened to a 54-year-old Belgian woman who after losing a loved one began having problems at the pharmacy where she worked and started showing signs of depression. She gradually avoided her friends and was finally found in her garden “clucking and crowing like a rooster”.


In total, only 56 cases of clinical zoanthropy could be found in the international scientific literature.


National Library of Medicine: Clinical Zoantropy

Medscape: Psychiatrist report rare case of woman who thinks she’s a chicken

Overview Bible: Nebuchadnezzar

New York Post: Depression caused a woman to believe she was a chicken

Dr. William Doverspike, PDF: How to understand zoanthropy?

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