Snake venom is a high concentrated, poisonous saliva containing enzymes that helps in the digestion and immobilization of prey. Snake venoms have proteins which act as neurotoxins. This help to prevent or hamper nerves and disrupt nerve centers which are part of the body’s defense system. Different snake species have different strength and venom potency. They can harm humans and animals depending on the type and strength of their venom. Snake venom may be either injected into the prey or may be consumed orally.
Rattlesnakes have the most potent snake venom known to man. Its toxins are capable of causing necrosis and even death. However, this is not the only snake that produces such deadly toxins. There are nine species of venomous snakes in Australia alone. Among these, there is the common cotton snake, the brown snake, the Australian venomous snake, cane snake, coral snake, Great Australian snakes, red back snake, monitor snake, stone curlew, yellow tail snake, and the tree viper. All these species have venom which has both defensive and offensive characteristics.
Most venomous snakes tend to strike out when they feel threatened, and oftentimes, their bites result in minor tissue injuries. Snakes strike out for no particular reason. The more common types of bites are those caused by the coral snake, cane snake, and the red back snake.
Coral snakes are small in size and come in a variety of colors. These snakes feed mostly on coral reefs, but may also consume fish and other prey items. The wounds caused by these bites may be difficult to diagnose initially due to the veneers of soft-shelled algae covering the wounds. If timely medical treatment is provided, the toxins found in snake venom are generally killed off. However, since these creatures are capable of spreading toxins throughout their bodies, it is essential to find quick treatment for this condition. Medical treatments for Coral snakes range from antibacterial drugs to autointoxication.
There are other types of snake bites that do not require immediate medical attention. The common brown recluse venom can be transmitted through contact with its fangs. This makes it easier to transfer antivenom from one person to another. Brown recluse antivenoms are typically used after exposure, but if the exposure happens early in the development of the disease, antivenom can also be given orally. However, it must be noted that antivenom is not effective against this particular type of snake species.
Other venomous snakes are even more dangerous than ordinary snakes, and can cause death almost instantly. Mountain boas and coral snakes, for instance, are reported to be fatal. Some common snake species such as the cobra snake, eastern rattlesnake and the black mamba snake are considered to be carriers of deadly toxins. In fact, these snakes are known to have strong venom that can be lethal to humans. People who have been bitten by these snakes may experience varying symptoms, depending on the degree of toxin exposure.
Scientific research on snake venom has found that antivenom has limited effectiveness against this kind of snake. However, there have been some improvements in research on how to create anti-venom for use against the various types of snakes. The most recent discoveries have focused on using green potatoes as a potential antivenom. The potato was found to contain vitamin C, which has the effect of slowing down the development of the toxins. It may take weeks or months before the effects of the antivenom kick in, depending on the degree of exposure to the toxins.
Another interesting discovery made about the toxin secreted by snakes is that they excrete fangs from glands in their heads. Fangs have strong toxins that can easily pass through the saliva and reach the other parts of the body, such as the lungs or heart. This type of snake venom, called carotenoids, has proven to be very effective in clinical trials. While it cannot be used on humans, it is still considered to be safe, especially since the presence of salivary glands in snakes’ heads makes it easy to administer the antidote.