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Poisonous Snakes

Poisonous snakes can certainly induce fear in most of us, and for good reason. The venom associated with certain poisonous snakes is so deadly that it can kill a person in under

Venom extraction

Venom extraction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

30 minutes (depending on the size of the individual). If that’s not bad enough, there’s always the danger of blindness in the event that any of the toxins are sprayed into the eyes. That said, poisonous snakes are creatures like all others, but they rely on their venom to survive: no snake will bite unless in defense or to capture its food. The rest of the negative “press” surrounding snakes results from a millennia of faulty perception triggered by ancient myths.

The structure of the venom secreted by poisonous snakes quite complex: They consist of a combination of proteins and toxins that when distributed within the prey’s bloodstream paralyze and eventually kill. The toxin attacks the heart, the respiratory system and the muscle tissue first.

Researchers have identified poisonous snakes that can destroy blood vessels as well as cause unstoppable hemorrhage, venomous species that paralyze the heart and others that simply cause agonizing muscle tissue pain and discomfort. The poisonous snakes with the most terrifying reputations are corals closely followed by cobras.

The complexities of snake venom still make the subject of extensive research difficult. What is known, is that speedy administration of antivenins are critical to a snake bite victims survival. There are also other factors that influence the victim’s chances of survival: the identification of the snake is necessary as well as the proper location of the bite. If too much time lapses between the moment of the bite and the administration of the antivenin, serious health damage or even death can occur. Furthermore, there have been instances of individuals who developed immediate allergic reactions to poisonous snake bites or to antidotes and died.

Rattlesnakes are the most common poisonous snakes in America, and they are the ones to cause most of the bites, yet dying from such incidents is a rarity in our times since medical help is usually readily available. Other relatives of the rattlesnake include the water moccasin, the cottonmouth or the copperhead; they are extremely venomous snakes and caution should be used at all times when you around their native environment.

Snake phobia could have developed because of a dangerous encounter with some poisonous snakes or it can be the result of sociological ancestral traditions that are manifest even in people who have never come across a snake in their life. However, I think it’s just a matter of us humans knowing what is inherently dangerous to our survival. We instinctively know to stay away from things that slither on the ground. Well, most of us do.