Ashlee Rowe and a team of Michigan State University researchers have discovered that the grasshopper mouse was able to withstand the bark scorpion’s painful and potentially deadly attack. This is because the venom binds to sodium channels and blocks the mouse’s neurons from sending pain signals to its brain. When it’s stung, the mice briefly lick their paws and move in again for the kill. Continue reading for a video and more information.
Researchers previously discovered that grasshopper mice, which are native to the southwestern United States, are highly resistant to the bark scorpion toxin, which can kill other small animals. However, it’s still unknown why the toxin is not lethal to the mice. To test whether the grasshopper mice actually felt pain from the toxin, scientists injected small amounts of scorpion venom or nontoxic saline solution in the mice’s paws. Believe it or not, the mice licked their paws (a typical toxin response) much less when injected with the scorpion toxin than when injected with a nontoxic saline solution.