How do snakes produce venom?
Snakes are kind of an odd animal if you really get down to it. Not only do they look unusual, but they have some behavioral characteristics that make them quite different than you would find for most other animals.While not completely unusual, there is one characteristic that does separate them from most of the animals that you will come across. That is their ability to produce venom.
There are many snakes that have the ability to produce venom. The kinds that most are familiar with include rattlesnakes, copperheads, and vipers, but there are many others. These snakes inject toxins into their victims once they have sunk their teeth in and that can be lethal to the victim, even if you are talking about human beings.
This may make you wonder how do snakes produce venom? That is a good question.
According to scientists, the ability of snakes to produce venom comes from how their salivary glands have evolved. Salivary glands are quite common in many animals. They are usually in the mouth area and aid in digestion once the food is inside of the mouth. For most animals the saliva is not toxic to other animals. Snake venom is made by these glands that were once associated with salivation. What has been proposed as these glands eventually evolved to be able to produce poisons as a way to control and kill their prey. This posed an interesting challenge. The poison not only had to be able to produce a poison that was potent enough to be able to kill its prey, but the snake also had to be able to survive the poison. In essence, it had to be immune to its own venom.
How this process occurred is not known. It defies logic to many, who feel that if the snake originally produced poison it would die from the poison itself and the process of snakes being able to produce poison anymore would come to an end. This is one of the conundrums that those who espouse evolution have not been able to explain.
The different venoms that snakes produce are made up of a variety of proteins. This a complex mixture that can vary from as few as 50 different proteins, which is still a lot, all the way to 100. The effect is that they alter the blood pressure of the animal that they have bitten and usually prevent blood clotting. There can also be a paralysis of the nervous system, which will make it impossible to breathe and for the heart to beat. This will cause the victim to die in no time.
It should be noted that not all poisons are lethal to humans, but if you are bitten by one you should be checked out right away anyway.
Read more: Snake Control
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, How to Identify Snakes
, How to Kill Snakes