Ready? Then let's begin. It seems that researchers have stumbled upon something truly important: you can really mess with blind, hairless mole rats and they feel no pain. Don't believe me? The researchers discovered that when . . . mole rates had their paws injected with a slight dose of acid . . . as well as some capsaicin — the active ingredient of chili peppers — the rodents showed no pain.
Apparently, the key to their pain resistance is the mole rat's lack of a substance called Substance P. Well, realizing that torturing rats is no fun if they can't feel it, scientists took the next logical step: the researchers used a modified cold sore virus to carry genes for Substance P to just one rear foot of each tested rodent.And it worked!! This time when they burned the mole rats' feet with acid, the moles felt it. Isn't that awesome? I'm assuming the mole rats still couldn't feel pain in the rest of their pink, vulnerable little bodies, but there's no way to know for sure. I mean, who would bother testing that?
At this point, maybe you, as a non-scientist, are feeling a little bad for these critters. Don't. The head researcher told reporters: "They're the nicest, sweetest animals I've ever worked with — they look frightening, but they're very gentle," said neurobiologist Thomas Clarke at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Yeah, so screw 'em. Stupid mole rats with their not feeling pain. We'll show you.
Gladstone writes for Cracked and others. Go to Wayne Gladstone Lives in Maine to see all his published stuff, his full name, and state of residence.