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Male Mice Are Utterly Terrified Of Bananas

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Aug 9, 2001
Researchers at McGill University were studying pain sensitivity in mice and noticed something weird: When pregnant female mice—which were being used for another experiment—were kept close by, the male subjects started acting strangely. A grad student realised that they were “aggressive” and had “super-high pain thresholds” when the pregnant females were in the area.

They zeroed in on the fact that soiled bedding from a pregnant female was enough to give males the superhuman (supermouse?) pain tolerance. A look at their hormonal levels also showed they were experiencing a spike in stress. They eventually isolated the chemical n-pentyl acetate, which can appear in female mouse urine, as the signal the males were reacting to.

Totally coincidentally, n-pentyl acetate is what gives bananas their signature odor. The researchers picked up some banana oil from a local supermarket and doused cotton balls in it to see if their presence would have the same effect. Sure enough, the banana funk raised stress hormones and lowered pain sensitivity.

Why would pregnant mice (and, as a result, bananas) have such an effect on young, healthy males? Because pregnant mice, generally speaking, can and will kick the absolute crap out of a young male mouse.


maximus otter
I thought this was going to involve some videos of mice jumping six feet in the air, like cats to cucumbers! :)