Why venomous snake is not poisoned by the venom?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Saint, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Why venomous snake is not poisoned by the venom itself?
    How the snake can produce venom in its body?
    Can the venom poison the snake itself?
     
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Unless severely depressed and suicidal, they avoid biting themselves.
     
    James R and sideshowbob like this.
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  5. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

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    couple things first the terms poison and venom and related terms are not interchangable.

    secondly it depends on the snake. some species are immune to their species venom, some are immune to just their and will be harmed by another of their species, and lastly some have no immunity


     
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  7. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    “The conventional wisdom is that they have circulating antibodies in their blood,” says Stephen Mackessy, Ph.D., a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado and an expert in venomous snakes. “This would protect them from their own venom, as well of venom from another snake in their own species.”

    Hypothetically, if a speckled rattlesnake bit another speckled rattlesnake, the immunity they’ve built from being exposed to low levels of their own venom—kept in glands behind their eyes and secreted when they bite—would protect them from a fatal wound. (Even though the glands are closed, they still contain blood vessels that allow the venom to circulate in their system, causing mild exposure, Mackessy says.) But a speckled rattlesnake that meets up with a cobra might have a different day entirely.

    “The more distantly related the species, the more probability it would be toxic,” Mackessy says. “If a rattlesnake and cobra bit one another, without prior exposure to their venoms to build immunity, they would probably kill each other.”

    Which brings us to snake handlers
    They too can build up an immunity to the toxins of the snakes that they handle.
    (not something that I would want to try)

    And, then, we have the story of an Australian brown tree snake that bit itself and died from the bite.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  8. Bells Staff Member

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    Depends on the snake and venom..

    For example, the eastern brown snake (also known as the "BROWN SNAKE" in my household - ie screamed by me on a too regular basis when in the yard, usually followed by panicked running (shoe flying off foot type running) and screeching):

    Its venom's main effects are on the circulatory systemcoagulopathy, haemorrhage (bleeding), cardiovascular collapse, and cardiac arrest. One of the main components of the venom is the prothrombinase complex pseutarin-C, which breaks down prothrombin.

    [...]

    Clinically, the venom of the eastern brown snake causes venom-induced consumption coagulopathy; a third of cases develop serious systemic envenoming including hypotension and collapse, thrombotic microangiopathy, severe haemorrhage, and cardiac arrest.[61] Other common systemic symptoms include nausea and vomiting, diaphoresis (sweating), and abdominal pain. Acute kidney injury and seizures can also occur.[61] Onset of symptoms can be rapid, with a headache developing in 15 minutes and clotting abnormalities within 30 minutes;[58] collapse has been recorded as occurring as little as two minutes after being bitten.[61] Death is due to cardiovascular causes such as cardiac arrest or intracranial haemorrhage.[61] Often, little local reaction occurs at the site of the bite. The classical appearance is of two fangmarks around 1 cm apart.[62]Neurotoxicity is rare and generally mild, and myotoxicity (rhabdomyolysis) has not been reported.[61][63]

    A fun fact about this regular backyard visitor:

    Eastern brown snakes are very fast moving snakes, Australian naturalist David Fleay reported that the snake could outpace a person running at full speed.[40] Many people mistake defensive displays for aggression.[41] When confronted, the eastern brown snake reacts with one of two neck displays. During a partial display, the snake raises the front part of its body horizontally just off the ground, flattening its neck and sometimes opening its mouth. In a full display, the snake rises up vertically high off the ground,[42] coiling its neck into an S shape, and opening its mouth.[40] The snake is able to strike more accurately from a full display and more likely to deliver an envenomed bite.[43] Due to the snake's height off the ground in full display, the resulting bites are often on the victim's upper thigh.[26]
    And people wonder why I want to move to New Zealand!

    It's not the only regular visitor that can kill us within a few minutes. We've had at least one Coastal Taipan and way too many supposedly less deadly Red Bellied Black snakes (which like to get into the pool) to count.

    These snakes would not allow any immunity to build up over time.
     

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