Pain is a persuasive way of keeping the enemy at bay. Hosts of living beings make use of it, both in the animal and the plant world. Many of us have experienced the sting of a nettle, or indeed a wasp, a cat’s scratch and perhaps even the nip of a spider. And who hasn’t used the end of their foot to assign a kick or two, right where it hurts? Besides spitting out a few venomous words… Not many of us, however, have actually come across a snake and the twang of its venom. As we all know – or have been told – a snake’s bite can vary from being a little uncomfortable to excruciatingly painful and even harmful, not to mention fatal. Over the millennia, a snake’s venom has been perfected and become a highly specialised cocktail of hundreds, even thousands, of molecules – most of which are proteins. Recently, scientists discovered a neurotoxin – dubbed MitTx – that causes pain via acid-sensing ion channels which run along the membranes of neurons. A novelty in the world of nociception.