Giant rat kills predators with poisonous hair


Poisoning his hair with saliva and plant poison, she at one point cracked down on any aggressor.

With the help of the same plants used by African natives for poisoning arrowheads, this lump of fur fury, known as hairy hamster, can cause serious damage and even kill predators that are many times greater than its size.

"This is the only mammal that takes a deadly poison from the plants and causes it to yourself without dying," - said researcher Jonathan Kingdon of Oxford University in England. "This is an extraordinary example of evolutionary adaptability."

Kingdon spent his youth in Africa and often seen these rodents, and even kept one (with care) as a pet. He, of course, heard that the animal is poisonous, but it took thirty years to Vesna how and why this animal kills and injures predators.

When any predator, such as a dog that attacks the hamster and tries to eat it, the animal is gaining a mouth full of deadly poison.

"It does not seek to kill. If every striker immediately died, no one would have had to learn to how this animal tasteless" - said Kingdon. "In fact, the affected predators are gradually moving away from the poison, and never in my life did not want to experience like that."

Kingdon told of one case, which he personally observed, when the appearance of a shaggy hamster, dog, who has already been to skirmish with this animal, trembling with fear and did not want to approach this harmless-looking animal, measuring 30 centimeters.

Scientists have found that, for poisoning their wool, this rodent, the average size of which is 36 centimeters, chew the bark Akokantery Abyssinian and licks itself to pieces of poisonous secretion remained in the hair.

The poison of this plant for thousands of years, used by Aborigines for hunting large prey, such as elephants. "Evolution has created a mechanism similar to that used Hunters" - said Kingdon.

Kingdon found that the hair of the animal are arranged so as to absorb the poison.

It remains unknown why the rodent dies, chewing the poison can only assume that this kind of developed a resistance to it. "Although they should die of that chew poison, it does not happen" - said Kingdon. "And we do not have any idea how they do it."

The study of the mechanism of action of this poison can help medicine because it causes heart attacks. Sister chemical called digitoxin, used for decades for the treatment of heart failure.

The study was published Aug. 2 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Original: Msnbc

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