No such thing as a Poisonous Snake… (Part 1)

February 7, 2011 | mikey

Hello out there in TV Land!  Your friendly neighborhood Mikey checking in again with another fun blog about odd animal facts.  This one concerns a subject that is near and dear to my heart, and one which I have been told is a staple of my reptile programs, wherever I have done them.  A few months ago Jill wrote up a similar posting.  Allow me to elaborate on it a little more.  My topic is going to be the Venomous VS. Poisonous debate. with a main emphasis on snakes.  Also, this posting is going to be in two parts- the first will delve into the differences between venomous and poisonous and the second will go into detail about the predominantly different types of snake venom and their effects.

I know all of you have heard of cobras, and rattlesnakes, and copperheads and other dangerous snakes, right?  And chances are that whenever you’ve heard or spoke of them, the term “Poisonous” has been brought up?  Many people refer to the dangerous serpents as “poisonous snakes”.  Here’s the fun part!  There’s no such thing as a poisonous snake! The term itself is not correct – any snake possessing toxicity is in actuality a “Venomous” snake.  Now, I know you guys are shaking your head and saying that they’re the same thing, but believe you me, it isn’t true!  The term is properly applied depending on the animal’s (or plant’s) mode of introducing it’s toxin into something else’s system.

Venomous

Venomous

Venomous

Venomous is when the toxin is injected into something else, be it a bite or a sting or whatnot. Poisonous is when the toxin is eaten or absorbed through the skin.  Snakes can be venomous, as can scorpions, spiders, many fish and even bees (that’s why the sting hurts so much!).  But no snake is poisonous, -you can eat a snake (although I don’t advise it) without getting envenomated.  Things that are poisonous include many amphibians, a large number of plants (ever heard of poison ivy?), and my sisters cooking.

Poisonous

Poison Ivy…Very Dangerous!

Coming soon… the Sequel!  Where we talk about all the fun effects venom can have!  Don’t touch that dial!  :)

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