Snakes are often associated with danger due to their sharp fangs and potentially lethal bite. Often when somebody sees any snake at all they jump for fear that it could be lethal. However, there isn’t always a need for fear, as many snakes are just venomous and not poisonous.
What does poisonous mean?
Poisonous is a term applied to organisms that release toxins through ingestion, inhalation, or skin-to-skin contact, meaning very few snakes are actually poisonous. The exception is the garter snake, its bite is nontoxic and pretty harmless, although the animal stores and absorbs the toxins of its prey. So, unless you want to chow down on newt and salamander toxins, it’s best to keep garter snakes off the menu.
Other poisonous animals include some species of toads, frogs, birds, cephalopods, and insects which store toxins in their tissues and on their skin or feathers. The poison these animals carry is often potent enough to kill a human, so remember to take their bright colorings as a warning sign to stay away.
What does venomous mean?
Venomous is a term applied to organisms that bite or sting to inject poisonous toxins. There are multiple species of venomous snakes around the world, with the Saw-Scaled Viper being the deadliest of them all. This snake is responsible for more human fatalities than all other species combined.
There’s no shortage of venomous animals in the world, including spiders, lizards, jellyfish, corals, bees, ants, and wasps. Even seemingly benign animals can be venomous, such as the male platypus, which harbors fang-like ankle spurs attached to venom glands. The creatures use these spurs in self-defense, being able to kill small animals and give humans a nasty sting.
What are some venomous snakes?
In North America, there are numerous venomous snakes to watch out for. Cottonmouths are one of the most feared in the region, carrying powerful cytotoxic venom that can result in limb amputations if not treated with antivenom. Another snake to steer clear of is the Timber Rattlesnake, their large fangs carry a potent venom that can inject a large surge in just one bite. Multiple species of rattlesnakes are also common in the region to watch out for, with different species carrying different potencies and types of venom.
How do you protect yourself from snake bites?
To avoid getting a potentially lethal snake bite there are a few precautions you can take. Firstly, never walk barefoot or wear sandals when you cannot clearly see where you’re putting your feet. Staying on hiking trails also decreases your chance of getting bitten as there tend to be fewer hiding places for snakes.
Stay well clear of snakes even if they appear dead as some species use this as a tactic to surprise their victims. Hiking with a partner is always smart. Should a crisis arise, they can assist and increase your chances of getting out of the sticky situation unscathed. Finally, always carefully check for camouflaged snakes before picking up any wood or rocks. You never know where they might be hiding.