Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Snakes on a mofo blog.

Snake venom is nothing more but highly modified saliva produced by snake’s special glands.  Those glands are usually positioned on each side of the snake’s head, below and behind the eyes. Tubular and channeled fangs,(depending on the way that snakes release their zootoxin, by biting and/or spitting), are connected to the glands storage bags by venom ducts. Snake venom is a combo of many different enzymes and proteins, some of which are even harmless to humans.

So much for the “mechanical” part! Now, have you ever wondered which snake species have the most toxic venom? Here are just the top three:

In third place is a somewhat short and stocky brown snake called The Philippine Cobra or “Ulupong”. Average length of the snake is 1,50 m, but some specimens  caught were  measuring 2 meters in length. It feeds predominantly on small mammals. However, when given  the chance, it will feed on birds, eggs, frogs and lizards.
The venom of the Ulupong is a neurotoxin, which affects cardiac and respiratory functions, causing neurotoxicity and respiratory paralysis. Its victims are usually dead within minutes due to a complete respiratory failure. There are documented cases in which a person died only 30 seconds after being bitten. Philippine cobra will also spit venom for up to ten feet in distance, which can cause permanent blindness if small drops of it reach eyes.

Second place is reserved for the Inland Taipan, also known as “Fierce Snake”. It is native to Australia and is regarded as the most venomous land snake. 
A dose of its neurotoxic venom excerpted from a single bite can kill over 150.000 mice, or 100 men. The adjective “fierce” is thus given to this snake’s venom rather than to its temperament, which is timid and shy. 
If confronted by a man, it is more likely to try to escape then strike. 
The late Steve Irwin once had a little “run in” with the Taipan, as you can see in this next insane  video:

First place, based solely on the toxicity of its venom is taken by Hydrophis belcheri aka  Faint-banded Sea snake. It is a sub-species of elapid sea snakes. Belcher’s snake has a  friendly temperament, and it will not strike at humans if left alone. Usually, those bitten  are fishermen handling their nets. Even then, it injects only a tiny dose of its mycotoxic  venom – which destroys muscle tissue among other side effects. Just a few milligrams of  Belcher’s snake venom can kill over 1.000 men.

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