Trivia

Hard

Grasshopper Mice Have An Adaptation That Makes Them Immune To The Effects Of?

Radiation Poisoning
Severe Dehydration
Bee Stings
Scorpion Venom
A grasshopper mouse eating a darkling beetle.
United States Department of Energy

Answer: Scorpion Venom

You probably don’t think of mice as being particularly hardcore little creatures, but the grasshopper mouse should have you rethinking that. The fierce little fellows are around 3.5 to 5 inches long with a behavior distinct from other mice.

Rather than timidly scurrying about looking for seeds and such, the grasshopper mouse actively hunts. It stalks its prey like a cat by sneaking up behind it quietly to attack it. It also defends and defines its territory by howling like a tiny wolf. The grasshopper mouse eats insects (such as the grasshoppers from which it derives its name), worms, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, snakes, and even other mice.

You read those last bits correctly. Eating bugs is one thing, but grasshopper mice not only hunt venomous snakes and scorpions, but they’ve actually evolved a physiological adaptation for the task. They don’t just eat the snakes and scorpions; they actually become “stronger” when attacked by them. While most creatures experience excruciating pain and/or death when attacked by a venomous snake or scorpion, the grasshopper mouse’s body is not only immune to the toxin, but it actually uses it like an analgesic (a pain killer).

A mouse that hunts scorpions is pretty hardcore in our book, but a mouse that not only hunts scorpions but gets a whisky-like slug of pain protection when the scorpion stings it? That’s a mouse we’re downright impressed with.

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