Grasshopper Mouse Invincible to Scorpions, Probably Nuclear Disasters

By Nick Venable | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

As someone who has shared my opinion on the Internet in different capacities over the last several years, I can attest to there being no pain quite like the voice of straight haters in comment sections. A stranger’s opinion, regardless of validity, strikes the area of the brain reserved for spelling bee losses and talent show stage fright. It hurts. But not, like, a fucking scorpion sting. Because those actually do hurt, and it doesn’t matter if the scorpion remains anonymous or not.

At the 2013 meeting for the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Ashlee Rowe of Austin’s Sam Houston State University presented findings that raise mouse above scorpion on the scale of badassery. The Sonoran desert is home to the southern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys torridus), the only carnivorous mouse in North America. It will eat whatever it comes across in the area, including its own species as well as scorpions. Fleas from many different species have been found on its fur, which is the younger brother to having a necklace made out of teeth.

Because the venom of the Arizona bark scorpion (Centruoides sp)), one of the most poisonous scorpions in the world, doesn’t happen to phase it. This is a mouse, people, and not one of those smart talking ones that can turn into kangaroos for boxing matches. I wonder how it would fare against Sting’s Scorpion Death Lock.

I'm coming for you mouse!
I’m coming for you mouse!

Rowe and her colleagues injected the paw of grasshopper mice, in addition to everyday lab mice, with a small bit of the scorpion venom, and found that the grasshopper mice spent less time licking and messing with that paw, a sign of its not giving a grasshopper rat’s ass. The team later removed individual pain-conveying nerve cells from the mouse’s spinal cord, and tested the venom’s effectiveness on its ability to function, and found that a mutation in its proteins stop the pain signal from ever reaching the brain.

In humans, this sort of mutation causes erythromelalgia, a word that automatically makes the speaker sound like Stephen Hawking, as well as a syndrome that causes the afflicted’s feet and hands to get burning pains. Work is being done to see how this can affect pain treatments for humans. And pharmaceutical companies are almost certainly working to falsify any positive findings.