Filed under: Cool Site of the Day, Health Care, News of the Weird, Science/Technology | Tags: Sonoran Desert, Southern Grasshopper Mouse, Treating Human Pain
Zoologger is a weekly column at New Scientist that highlights extraordinary animals from around the world.
Onychomys torridus lives in the arid badlands of the Sonoran Desert in the south-western United States and northern Mexico.
In the dark expanses of the Sonoran desert in the US, a terrifying creature stalks the night, searching for fresh meat. Anything will do: crickets, rodents, tarantulas – the nastier the better.
Even the poisonous scorpion cannot escape the savage monster’s little pink paws. It fights bravely, stinging its attacker on the nose. To no avail. The mouse ignores the painful venom and cruelly breaks the scorpion’s tail by pummeling it into the ground, then bites its head and feasts on its flesh. Throwing its head back, the murderous animal howls at the moon.
(Image: Michael and Patricia Fogden/Minden/NGS)
This is the southern grasshopper mouse, the only carnivorous mouse in North America. It’s unique biology and resistance to scorpion venom may one day help researchers to treat human pain disorders.
This odd little fellow is a natural-born killer. They take over burrows of other animals and remover any occupants by force. In particularly bad times, they may turn cannibalistic, killing and eating their own species. But they do have unusual resistance to pain. Read the whole article to see how this characteristic may one day help humans.
(purloined from Vanderleun)