Snake venom is a highly potent saliva containing enzymes that facilitate digestion and immobilization of an insect, and possibly even attack and defense against other predators. It is generally injected into the victim by special fangs, usually during a defensive bite. The enzyme found in this venom makes it highly effective at immobilizing its prey for up to three hours; though it may only remain active for half that time. Most snakes will expire from the effects of venom within 12 hours from contact, while some will remain alive for much longer (generally ones that prey on snakes).
There are a number of different types of snake venom that may be delivered to a prey via bite. Some species may use their fangs to inject venom into the prey, but others may inject a variety of other toxins as well. Snakes, toads, crickets and grasshoppers are some of the most commonly known prey of these highly evolved arboreal predators. Their primary prey includes other snakes, lizards, birds, mammals and insects.
The neurotoxic venom in snake venom causes serious injury or death to soft tissues when injected into the body. The protein amyloid protein found in the neurotoxic venom of snakes is particularly dangerous due to the fact that it is not only a protein, but it is also capable of circulating through the blood stream and affecting other organs, such as the brain. This protein can accumulate in the nerve tissue and lead to a loss of function or permanent paralysis of the affected area. People who have been injected with excessive amounts of snake venom can suffer from lasting paralysis in the muscles of the face, neck, hands, feet, abdomen, or brain.
Enzymes, a type of polysaccharides, serve an important role in the excretion of some types of snake venom. This is why scientists have identified enzymes as one of the causes of death caused by snakes. These enzymes break down the proteins found in the venom of the snake. This allows them to be easily excreted from the body through excreta. However, there are times when these enzymes are unable to reach their destination or when they are unable to complete their work in excreting the toxins. These times can result in the build up of toxins in the body.
A number of conditions exist in order for snakes to produce more toxins. One of these conditions is referred to as the enhanced flushing factor. This factor is facilitated by the presence of modified salivary glands. These glands are found in snakes that have evolved through the course of evolution to produce more venomous venom and, as such, they can now secrete this venom in greater quantities. Other factors that enable snakes to secrete more venom include:
Several studies have revealed that snake venom contains haemotoxins and neurohormones. These substances cause neurological and physical disturbances in their prey and in humans who come into contact with them. They cause irritation and itching in humans and provoke allergic reactions in certain individuals. It has also been established that haemotoxins can affect the function of the nervous system and the brain is subjected to repeated exposure.
One of the most common methods used to immobilize snake venom is through an anticoagulant called heparin. This substance contains heparin binder which has the effect of stopping blood flow to the area it has been injected. This stops the muscular contractions of the affected muscles, which cause the venom to be released. Injection systems are widely used to immobilize venomous snakes but they have recently been replaced by infrared coagulation. This method uses a special chemical structure to extinguish the muscular contractions of the affected muscles thus immobilizing the venomous snake.
There are several medications that are effective in immobilizing snake venom but one should be careful before using them as they may be dangerous for human beings if administered the wrong way. One should therefore go through the details regarding these medications to avoid any negative consequences. Some of the medications that work effectively include midazolam, azathioprine, voriconazole, cisapride, disulphidex and propoxuric acid (PVP). One should use these medications only under medical supervision to avoid complications.