"The pre-eminence of man over beast is non-existent, for all is vain" (Shacharit). Man has unfortunately proven the truth of this statement over and over again. Our desire for momentary pleasure all too often blinds us to the long term repercussions of our actions. Moreover our cruelty, cunning, deceit, and moral decay know no bounds.
The second incident occurred when Bilaam’s donkey tried to stop him from cursing the Jewish people. Interestingly the Mishna (Avot 5:8) claims that at the same time that the snake enticed man to sin, G-d was creating "the mouth of the donkey" which would later try to stop Bilaam from cursing the Jewish people. At the same time that we were sinking to the level of an animal, G-d was busy creating animals that could actually guide us if we would only listen.
Unfortunately, in both instances man chose the wrong response to the animal. Bilaam could not even see what his donkey saw and blindly went ahead on his nefarious mission.