What really happened to Chernobyl animals? Wipeout?
June 20, 2019

Is Radiation caused to Mutations? Why?

Is Radiation caused to Mutations? Why?

mutated calf
mutated calf

When we think of global radiation tragedies the very first thing we open up is the ‘Chernobyl diaries’. It has been recorded as one of the worst scenarios ofRadiation caused mutation poisoning which is suspected to lead chronic radiation mutations in Chernobyl animals including the Chernobyl dogs. When a person or an animal exposed to a high level of radiation poisoning on site,

they express immediate effects of radiation sickness including intense vomiting, severe damage to internal organs, internal bleeding etc. It is observed that the Chernobyl dogs and the other Chernobyl animals that died within the subsequent years from animal radiation are mostly taken by cancer. So, this is where the question arises. “Is radiation caused to Mutations??”

Radiation poisoning has the ability of passing on energy to molecules like DNA and that energy has the capacity to break down the bonds within the molecule.

When the DNA is under replication this leads mutations in the DNA with the ability of causing a cancer or other visible defects later in the lives of Chernobyl animals or may be the off springs of them.

Mutated DNA can cause tumors and set bad effects in reproductive organs of the radiation animals.

radiation animals
mutated horse

If their gametes are been mutated, it may cause embryonic malformations, embryonic stage death or birth defects in Chernobyl animals. Chernobyl Diaries began their story in 1986 after the horrible unintentional release of radioactive substance to the surroundings.

But this Radiation poisoning still affects Ukraine. Only few people live around Chernobyl now. So, mostly the Chernobyl dogs and the other Chernobyl animals that live nearby are the ones who allow scientists to study the radiation mutations of radiation poisoning via animal radiation.

After the first few years of Chernobyl accident, researchers began to focus on Chernobyl dogs and other radiation animals for their status of radiation mutations and other impacts of the animal radiation.


The radioactive poisoning has released several types of isotopes to the surroundings of Chernobyl over time Mainly Cesium-137 and iodine-131 are isotopes that has been accumulated through the food chain and it makes up most of the radiation amount that are been currently exposed to Chernobyl animals.

Farm owners figured that there is an increment of genetic abnormalities in Chernobyl animals just after the radiation poisoning event happened in Chernobyl.

Subsequent years of 1989 and 1990, there was a rise of the number of individuals with deformities most probably due to the radiation released from the sarcophagus considered to cut-off the nuclear core.

In the year of 1990, approximately 400 animals with deformities were born. Most of the deformed Chernobyl animals were at severe stages and they died after few hours of their birth.

Defected animals exhibit additional projections, malformations on their faces, diminished size and abnormal pigmentations. Radiation animals including cows and pigs show the highest number of mutations.

Apart from the mutations cows that are been fed with radioactive feed tend to produce radioactive milk.

All though there are many wild radiation animals included in the studies, there are more than 900 Chernobyl dogs which are the descendants of dogs that are been left behind when the residents were evacuated from the area of radiation poisoning.

Researches thoughts?

Vet- specialists, researches and radiation experts are been vaccinating and tagging the Chernobyl dogs. Also they are fitted with radiation detective collars to determine the radiation exposure.

 These Chernobyl dogs make a path to radiation mapping across the affected zone and it aids the ongoing studies regarding the animal radiation.  

Since it is hard for scientists to have a close look at wild Chernobyl animals they prefer to monitor the Chernobyl dogs. Although, these dogs doesn’t exhibit radiation mutations in vicinity they carry radioactive particles especially in their fur. So, it is advised that not to pet them as a precaution.

 The Chernobyl exclusion area is covering over 1,600 square miles adjacent to the accident area. There are varieties of animals including eagles, rodents, turtles, deer, foxes, owls, wolves, horses, boars etc.

The animals live in exclusion zone are exposed to radioactive substances since they consume radioactive food.  Because of that they produce only few off springs and they are often mutated.

Apparently, a new research suggests that there is a chance that Chernobyl’s wolves are capable of spreading the radiation mutations to other wolf populations in Europe. Principle investigator of the study Jim Beasley, from the University of Georgia, USA has collared 13 wolves and tracked them for the radiation amounts.

These radiation animals have shown more radiation level when they travel along the contaminated areas than that of previously expected.

Continuing …

One of these wolves took a long trek (250 miles) out of the exclusion area covering Belarus, Ukraine and Russian regions.  This is the first recorded long-distance wolf migration from within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to its surroundings These kind of long –distance migrations made by the Chernobyl wolves could direct spreading radiation mutations to unaffected areas when they mate with the individuals from outside.

There are lots of ongoing studies on other radiation animals.  They are especially focused on small species including birds, insects and rodents. Tim Mousseau, a biologist from the University of South Carolina says that those species show that animal radiation can stimulate mutations and adverse health effects.

 Research done with the species like voles and barn swallows shows that these mutations can spread to the next generation as well. According to Mousseau, These smaller creatures are able to spread radioactive poisoning throughout the surroundings they move.


Anders Møller, a scientist at the University of Paris tells that his work proves that areas with increased levels of radiation always come with low number of populations of wildlife. Also,

the individuals who are wandering in these areas show radiation mutations and genetic damages.  The Chernobyl area has a versatile landscape while some areas are filled with high amount of radiation levels some still remains to be pristine.

However, these facts shows that the Chernobyl diaries are filled with full of mysteries.