Toxoplasmosis: Choose Your Own Post Ending

April 23, 2008

What sort of parasite gives a rat a suicidal attraction to cats?

A nasty one.

Toxoplasma gondii.

Passed from cat gut to rat brain and back again this parasite would seem to leave the host cats unaffected while giving the host rat brain damage. Connecting the cats and rats is feces. The toxoplasma passes out of cats and into rats. The rats then get slower and less afraid of cats and easier to be eaten by the cats. Which is not to say that the rats are fearless. They still have what seems to be a typical level of rat anxiety. But unlike uninfected rats, they appear to be fearless of rat urine.

Selective impairment of smell due to a parasite.

Altered perception and nihilistic behaviors, infected predators and reckless rodents. Fascinating but what’s the point you are asking yourself? You choose:

If you think the glass is half full click here,

If you think the glass is half empty click here,

If you think the glass is mostly empty space click here.

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