Some Mighty Mouses Are Not Afraid Of Cats, And Here's Why

Anil - Jan 31, 2020

Some Mighty Mouses Are Not Afraid Of Cats, And Here's Why

The essential element for being a supermouse: a weird parasite found in cats.

Recently, a parasite commonly found in cats is reported to be able to make mice unafraid of their natural enemy. It is a fatal brain hijack that contains tons of secrets that can fire up the curiosity of people, even our most outstanding biologists.

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As written in a research report, when the single-celled parasite namely "Toxoplasma gondii" attacks the brain, it can make a mouse become unafraid of nothing even when being threatened by bigger predators. The fact that mice that were affected had the tendency to stay outdoor more than usual can spread out the influence of the parasite to other uninfected ones. 

A case in which tainted mice poked an experimenter’s hand into their cage did mean an intrusion to other uninfected mice and make them hide on the other side of the cage. The researchers from the University of Geneva have found out that those mouse patients could not be aware of a rat that was anesthetized or their natural predators. They also discovered a fact that infected mice spend a lot more time than the uninfected ones following the scents of foxes and guinea pigs - although they are quite harmless. 

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In the report, they also pointed out that the spread of these infections which is calculated by the number of parasite cysts staying in the brain is seemingly connected with the changes in the infected hosts’ behavior. 

In order to be able to reproduce, the parasite needs to invade the immune system of cats. Other animals can be affected when exposing both indirectly and directly to feline excrement. Then they develop in the body and eventually take control of the brain by forming parasite cysts. 

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The human being can be infected with T.gondii parasite but at a less severe level. In some researches, they have indicated some possible connections between parasite and human behaviors like inattention, or intellectual disorders like "schizophrenia".



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