Warm and Furry, but They Pack a Toxic Punch

African crested rat, or Lophiomys imhausi, is a large creature that has a resemblance to a skunk it does not like a member of the rat consortium. Yet it is a rat, a very deadly dirty rat, The African crested rat has one of the most extreme and rare survival strategies among mammals. It deters predators with chemical warfare! Most amphibians, reptiles and occasionally fish are seen with this type of survival strategies, and when they do they are usually very brightly covered in a certain color that will tell others to not mess with them. The crested rat does not have this leisure because it is brown and very difficult to see in low light. Scientist have found that rat spends many hours eating  bark and roots of the Acokanthera tree, the rat extracts the same curare-type heart toxin that African hunters have used to hunt elephants! The rat then spreads it around its fur to spread the toxin. Their hairs are more like tubes than like fur, were the toxin is stored. It is very interesting to see a mammal to use such a technique.

Alejandro Rey

Chapter 4

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/science/these-mammals-pack-a-toxic-punch.html?pagewanted=all

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