Zoologger: Mouse eats scorpions (and centipedes) and howls at the moon

by Sara Reardon

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 (scorpions and centipedes) – 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 pummelling it into the ground, then bites its head and feasts on its flesh. Throwing its head back, the murderous animal howls at the moon.

From the day they are born, grasshopper mice are natural killers. Even pups born and raised in captivity quickly figure out how to take down prey much larger than themselves. They appear to learn some of their aggression from their fathers: pups raised with two parents are more likely to bully other mice and attack insects more viciously than those raised by single mothers (Behavioral Biology, DOI: 10.1016/S0091-6773(77)91933-2)…

(read more: NewScientist)             

(photo: T - Michael and Patricia FogdenNGS/Minden; B - National Geo.)

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