When it comes to hot peppers, some people feel the attraction and some don’t, but it turns out the extreme heat of a hot pepper only affects mammals. According to experts it all has to do with science. It’s likely that pepper plants use capsaicin, the spicy chemical part of the pepper, to repel most animals, thereby ensuring their own survival. Acting as a defense mechanism of sorts, spicy capsaicin thereby keeps bugs, pests and other hungry animals away. That’s why capsaicin is often used in things like pesticides or to keep animals such as deer and elk from eating shrubs and fruit trees.
In fact, the only mammal, other than human, that’s been found to feast on hot chili peppers willingly is the tree shrew, and that’s a recent find. It’s likely a mutation that allows the animal to eat large quantities of the hot stuff without feeling any pain. Most humans, on the other hand, do feel the “burn” of hot peppers and some learn to crave it. Perhaps the tree shrew is more like a bird in this respect. Birds are a necessary part of the growing process as they eat seeds, digest them quickly and then spread the pepper seeds around. Some suspect that birds are actually attracted to the vibrant hues of hot peppers.
Humans, in contrast, are attracted to hot peppers for a variety of other reasons. Some choose hot peppers for their health benefits, while others may seek to add some flavor to bland foods. Yet still, some simply enjoy the “rush” or thrill they getting from eating a hot pepper or indulging in a hot pepper product. No matter which category you fall into there are certainly plenty of options on the market to fill your need to bring on the heat!