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  • USA Wildlife Removal Education Guide - How does snake venom work?

How does snake venom work?

Most of us have heard the term poisonous snake. However, in a traditional sense, snakes aren't poisonous. Snakes are actually venomous. The difference between the two terms is that usually, you have to ingest poison while the venom has to be injected. In general, snakebites are harmless because most of the snakes are not venomous. In North America for example, only the coral snakes, the cottonmouths, the copperheads and the rattlesnakes are venomous. The most ironic thing about the snakes is that they all have different kinds of snake venom.



Venom actually works in different ways. For the rattlesnakes, the cottonmouths and the copperheads, they are mostly called pit vipers. The pit vipers in general have venom which is hemorrhagic in nature. This is venom which causes the victim to bleed to death. The bleeding happens inside and this is venom which causes a lot of scarring as well as massive damage of the tissue.

For coral snakes, they are closely related to the family of cobras. The venom that it has is referred to as neurotoxic venom. His kind of venom actually attacks the victim's nervous system and leads to cardiac arrest and the stopping of breathing. This venom is very dangerous when compared to the hemorrhagic one.

On of the interesting snakes that you can find is the Mojave rattlesnake which has the two venoms and this makes it very dangerous. All the snakes that are venomous have got some level of the two types of venom but the Mojave snake has got the two in enough quantities and this is what makes it such a big issue.

In North America, the venomous snake bites aren't a problem because the chances of coming across a snake are very remote unless you go to the wilderness very often. Venomous snakes are quite hesitant to use the venom in anything if it isn't a meal and because of the quantity of the venom available, it doenst make sense to use it on the humans.

Essentially, the venom of a snake is saliva that has been very highly modified and it contains zootoxins which facilitate the digestion and immobilization of the particular prey. The venom defends against any threats and it is injected by using fangs that bite even though there are some snakes that can spit. The glands secreting the zootoxin are actually paratoid glands that are modified.

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