Monday, September 3, 2012

Deadly Seduction
Toxoplasma Parasite Attracts Rats to its Feline Foe

It's been said that opposites attract and that danger can be a turn on, but what happens when your love interest is also your predator? There exists a type of symbiotic relationship between rats and a single-celled organism called the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which not only causes rats to become less fearful around cats, but this parasitic 'love bug', if you will, actually makes cats sexually appealing to rats. This truly conniving organism can only reproduce in cats so it begins its circle of life by passing through the cats feces where it then will wait to come into contact with the rat.  Once a rat has become infected, the parasite hijacks its brain causing the rat to associate the smell of cat urine with the smell of a female rat; hence leading a love-crazy rat straight to its enemy, and a parasite right back to its origin.



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