If you have to choose between getting bitten by a venomous snake, or touch a poisonous frog, what would you do? But wait a second! What’s the difference between poison and venom? when, in fact, the end result is the same i.e. “a painful death”. Chemically, venom and poison are considered “toxins” but there are subtle differences, and today we will try to answer this question for you.
Don’t be fooled by its appearance folks, because this is the poisonous Blue Dart Frog. And merely holding it in your hands can lead to certain death, without proper medical attention. This is the defining characteristic of something “poisonous” in that there are literally, no warning shots! Because it need not be injected to kill someone. Just by holding, ingesting, breathing or touching something poisonous, you can get “poisoned“. This happens because poison has the ability of seeping through your skin and into your blood stream and as it travels through your blood, it interferes with your nervous system and when the poison reaches your heart, it can cause it to stop.
Fun Fact: The most deadly poison is Botulinum toxin (SOURCE) and as per scientists, it is the most toxic substance known. Only 1 nanogram per kilogram can kill a human!
“If you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes“ – Ross Perot. Well, you can’t blame him for saying that. Snakes are also called Venomous. There are three types of snake venoms, namely; neurotoxins , cytotoxins, and hemotoxins. Neurotoxin or nerve toxins paralyze the respiratory centre, Cytotoxin damage tissues and destroy cells, very similar to that of a gang green effect and Hemotoxin prevent the blood from clotting. Suffice it to say, all three of them lead to certain death.
The good news is, venom needs to be injected to do the damage it was meant to do, that is the reason why snakes are equipped with those sharp, Dracula inspiring, long fangs! But not all snake bites contain venom, in fact, around 20 to 80% of snake bites are “dry bites” or bites without any venom. This is because snakes have a limited supply of venom and prefer to conserve it for their prey rather than waste it on someone, who merely gets in their way. Smart? Right? Next time you see a snake, be smart and get out of its way.
Fun Fact: The Black Mamba is the most venomous snake in the world, it is also the fastest land snake in the world.