Talk:Snake venom

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Not techincally poisons?[edit]

According to the poison page, a poison need only cause harm when absorbed, not ingested. . . . . I won't remove it, because it sounds authoritative, but someone needs to check it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:01, 8 March 2008 (UTC)


Currently one huge paragraph with no formatting or links. Looks like it was ripped from an article. --Jman 22:00, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yep, sure was: That's probably not okay. *sigh* This page should be paraphrased and combined with Snakebite. Maybe when I have some time... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 10:10, 28 June 2005 (UTC)

This should really be renamed to "snake venom" and any links fixed up. There has been a LOT of good research (notably by Fry and Wüster) on snake venoms lately. In particular, they've demonstrated that it appears to have evolved once, while previously it was assumed to have evolved multiple times. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 06:51, 11 December 2005 (UTC)


This discussion of the chemistry of snake venom is quite outdated. The book from which this article was copied was published in 1913, I think. Presently, MUCH is known about the chemistry of the peptides in various types of venom. For example, some types of venom that affect Potassium ion channels have 'helix-turn-helix' structure. The severity of the effect on these channels can be determined by the identity of some key amino acid residues. Perhaps a thorough discussion of this would be helpful. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 13:07, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

There has been significant leaps in venom research and the taxonomy mentioned in the article that make it pretty much useless, but I'm not sure it should be merged with anything else, it just needs to be rewritten from the ground up covering the types of venom, types of tooth structure/delivery system, and phsyiological/chemical effects. -Dawson 04:48, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

At first I started to edit this article, correcting scientific names and links, like so many others before me. Then I realized that I could go on and on correct all of the factual errors (i.e. Boulenger considered Causus to be very dangerous) and generally bringing the information up-to-date, but that idea made me feel like I would be vandalizing an historical document. It's probably less work to delete the whole thing and start over with more up-to-date information than to waste time correcting it. --Jwinius 20:03, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. Just someone has to volunteer to do the work. ;) -Dawson 20:12, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

I have an old book on the subject from the early 70's, but it's out of date now and nearly useless. This subject has become so complicated these days, that you have to be a biochemist -- or preferably a toxicologist -- just to understand the literature. Even professional herpetologists struggle with this. For example, IIRC, a relatively recent discovery was that it's not just the venoms that do the damage, but that they produce decomposition products (metabolites?) that do damage as well; a really cool evolutionary development, by it makes the whole subject that much more complicated. --Jwinius 10:38, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

This article looks O'K to me. I did not find anything that is wrong. But I am not an expert here. Biophys 19:56, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I can recall watching a documentary when I was younger (probably early 1990's) where an australian herpetologist was demonstrating that one sort of australian snake (forget which. one of the major ones, probably the taipan) was quite succeptible to its own venom. thus I'd say the question of whether some snakes is vulnerable to its own venom HAS been answered definitively. However I've not yet found a citation or more specific reference, I'll keep looking. Also, this article is heavily lent towards european, african, indian and american snakes, simply I suspect because that's where most of the knowledge was back in 1913. However, considering the sort of percentage of the world's most venomous snakes that are in australia or southern asia... The article could probably do with being updated a bit with information on this part of the world imo. Quadbox 05:32, 7 May 2007 (UTC)


is there any info on acids and snake venoms?? mainly is it an acid? or a poison? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Stansz (talkcontribs) 23:29, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Venoms are very, very complex, they contain a wide array of acidic and basic components that can vary greatly between species, but the traditional idea of something being acidic is not necessarily the primary means of action, though, many venoms, especially those of viperids, do serve to almost "pre-digest" potential food items by breaking down fatty acids and proteins. There are a several scientific papers out there that discuss it in detail, but I'd need a biologist translator to understand even half of it. :) -Dawson 07:06, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Well I'm sure I've read somewhere that certian kinds of snakes have a neurotoxic aspect to the venom, so I'd be interested in someone getting a source for the pre-digestion thing. Icarus'sNewBag (talk) 09:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Snake venom genetics[edit]

I would like to read more about the genetic aspect of snake venoms, how many genes are involved, are the venoms purely proteins? When/how are they regulated? How are auto-poisonous issues overcome. THANKS. massa 04:11, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Answer: Snake venoms are not poisonous; they can be ingested (as the snake does) without harm. Although snakes generally have a high tolerance for their own venoms, they can be hurt and even killed by sufficient doses of it. Tequila with a shot of rattlesnake venom is a well-known "tough guy" drink in Mexico and the southwestern U.S. As long as you have no open sores in your mouth, throat, or stomach, it just tastes nasty. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 01:58, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

New data[edit]

New data just in on this, See Nature 2005 Fry,

all snake poison genetics has to be revised in the light of this paper. Poison did not arise twice in two different branches of snakes, it arose in the common ancestor of snakes and lizards, though boas lost poison. Thus lizards, even pet ones, are also poisonous (but their poison delivery is not as good).

Snake poison is NOT modified saliva, it uses genes recruited from all over the body (as of course each cell has all the DNA to make a whole snake, though usually not all genes are switched on in all cells). The snake/lizard common ancestor already had 9 very potent toxins. It seems that all venoms ARE pure proteins, which aren't regulated at all, they just get in your blood stream and get going. Fry was bitten at least three times by three snakes and can attest that the results (e.g. excruiating pain) as far too quick to be in any way related to bacterial infection. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 05:16, 16 October 2006) (UTC)


Discussion is needed of why there is huge 'overkill' in the amount of venom injected into prey: to immobilise the prey rapidly before it harms the snake or flees too far away to be tracked (if released); or to soften up the innards of the prey even as the snake's digestive juices digest it from its outside. Digestion of an animal swallowed whole by a cold-blooded creature is a race against time before it putrifies in the snake's stomach and must be regurgitated (hence also the great strength of snake digestive juices). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 15:26, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


This article still copies extensively from this encyclopedia article. It needs to be rewritten or have the offending content removed (which would be a large proportion of the article). Tesseran 02:54, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Proteroglyphus colubrids?[edit]

Can you give an example please

First Aid[edit]

Under 'Studies' it states that, "Making cuts around the puncture or sucking out the venom has also been helpful". This practice is outmoded and may be hazardous to the first aider if they have dental caries. Another common practice that has been discontinued is the use of tourniquets. Current practice in Australia is to apply compression bandages,limit patient mobility and anxiety, and seek urgent medical assistance. Do not clean the wound as it may be swabbed to help identify the type of toxin. of toxin —Preceding unsigned comment added by Grumpyfather (talkcontribs) 14:22, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

That is the current mode we employ, as the venom travels through the lymphatic system, a tourniquet could compound the effects once it has been takes of by allowing an excellerated flow though the system. Enlil Ninlil (talk) 07:24, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


This article mentions cutting around or sucking out the venom, but I believe this is not recommended first-aid, and another article concerning snakes or snakebites mentions a study that sucking out the venom may only reduce it by 1%. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:01, 21 January 2009 (UTC)


Heya, I've been reading through this article and I think it could probably do with some quite serious reworking. I've started a draft on my user space, would anyone else be interested in working with me to really get on top of this article? Abergabe (talk) 11:05, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was to merge ZooPro 13:30, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

I propose that the article Snake toxins should be merged to this one. They clearly overlap, and I believe that it would be better to have the toxin information in a wider context. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:53, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

They do seem pretty much identical. While two snakes are known to have defensive toxins, rather than venom, those can be dealt with on the species pages. Mokele (talk) 19:59, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
This discussion is old and I will be BOLD in merging it. ZooPro 13:30, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Deaths per year.[edit]

"If successful, some of the over 100,000 people that die each year from snakebite in the Eastern Hemisphere will be saved. (1,2) [11]"

The cited link 404s and the 100,000 deaths per year number is far too high. 20,000 would be a better number. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:54, 11 December 2011 (UTC)


Regarding the evolution of snake venom, the article briefly mentions the possible "why" of venom evolution, but nothing of the "when". In other words, at what point in their evolutionary history did snakes develop the ability to use venom? Are there fossil species that are known or believed to have been venomous?-- (talk) 02:19, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Evolution Section Suggestions[edit]

1. Rapid Venom Evolution can also be explained by the arms race between rapid-venom targeted molecules in resistant predators and the snake venom that targets the molecules. This statement could be added to the evolution portion of this page.

Jansa, Sharon A., and Robert S. Voss. "Adaptive Evolution of the Venom-Targeted VWF Protein in Opossums That Eat Pitvipers." Ed. Paulo Lee Ho. PLoS ONE 6.6 (2011): E20997. Web.

2. The article mentions rapid evolution in venom due to the arms race between the snake’s prey, however a good example is not given. One of the main studies on this topic is the California Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) and the northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus). The ground squirrels have significantly more resistance to the norther Pacific Rattlesnake venom compared to resistance for any other rattlesnake in the area.

Biardi, James E., David C. Chien, and Richard G. Coss. "California Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus Beecheyi) Defenses against Rattlesnake Venom Digestive and Hemostatic Toxins." Journal of Chemical Ecology 31.11 (2005): 2501-518. Web.

3. The article mentions that venom can vary depending on diets, however that stamen can be extrapolated by saying that venom can vary geographically due to natural selection for feeding on local prey. The example of calloselasma rhodostoma in the paper cited below would be a great addition to the evolution section

Daltry, Jennifer C., Wolfgang Wüster, and Roger S. Thorpe. "Diet and Snake Venom Evolution." Nature 379.6565 (1996): 537-40. Web.

Pomento.2 (talk) 16:04, 30 September 2014 (UTC)