The bite that wasn t

the rivalry between mongooses and snakes is legion. What has always puzzled researchers has been the mongoose's ability to counter deadly snake-venom. Now a team of scientists in Israel has discovered that it is not the quick reflexes of these mammals that saves them from the lethal bite of snakes (New Scientist, Vol 153, No 2064).

The answer to the mystery lay in the way certain receptor cells in the mongoose's body behaved. Snake bite is usually lethal because the active ingredient in the snake venom