Understanding Snake venom and how it works

Snake venom is nature’s most effective killer. In 17th century, some Italian and English scientists made research on snake venom and identified it as yellow liquid from the glands of snake attached to front teeth. There are almost 1 to 2 million annual snake bites recorded out of which 50,000 to 100,000 bites are venomous. But this venom is most effective weapon for snakes to hunt or defend themselves. If we study snakes, their venom is far most the important aspect to consider and understand.Sea snakes have extremely fast-acting venoms.

Chemical Components in a snake Venom:
Snake venom is nothing but highly toxic saliva which facilitates the snakes in digestion of their prey. Venom consists of more than 20 different compounds which include proteins, enzymes and other toxic substances with lethal properties.

Categories of snake venom:
Venoms are divided into three categories: cytotoxins, neurotoxins and hemotoxins.

• Cytotoxins: these are most primitive form of venoms and help in digestion. This poison destroys the cells and collapses the tissues in muscles and body. This usually causes the victim to die by heart attack.
• Neurotoxin: this venom affects the nervous system directly. This venom paralyzes the victim and shut downs the respiration. Latter, severe seizures are caused and muscles of the victims body contract, resulting into victim’s death.
• Hemotoxins: this venomcauses the blood to congeal and as the result the victim dies from blood clots. This venom targets red blood cells and destroys blood vessels specifically. The result of such bite is death from internal and external bleeding. The type of poison and its working depends on snake’s lifestyle and its target prey. Usually sea snakes have very fast acting venom.

Snake venom as medicine:
Snake venom is also used as medicine and cure of many diseases.

• Venom form Brazilian pit viper is used as blood pressure cure as it dilates blood vessels.
• A Malaysian viper’s venom is used as a treatment of blood clot formation in humans.
• Working on cure of cancerous cells form snake venom is also in progress since venom acts only on certain types of cells.
• Many neurotoxins are being used as help to drug addicts and release pain because they inhibit nerve activity.

Although snake venom is highly toxic and dangerous to humans yet its limited and restricted use may be helpful for humans and cure many diseases. Understanding Snake venom and how it works

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