How do snakes produce venom?

Venom is a natural poison secreted by certain animals for both defensive and offensive purposes. It originated from enzymes located in the animal’s digestive tract and stomach. It can be as basic as that from a spider, or as complicated as the poison secreted from a Komodo dragon. The creature most famous for its use of venom is a snake. Most people believe that all snakes are poisonous, but this is not true. Of the almost 3000 known species of snake, only 300 of them are venomous.

A Snake's venom is created in highly evolved organs much like our salivary glands. While Ordinary saliva contains certain enzymes to help break down food as you chew it, snakes venom includes extremely toxic enzymes that can cause paralyzation, affect the nervous system, and destroy flesh. Most snakes use their venom for offensive reasons (subduing prey) more than for defense. Their prey is usually faster, more agile and larger than they are, so snakes had to evolve a way to take down their prey.

While all snakes can bite, only poisonous snakes have fangs. While they are sharp and can cause pain, the fangs themselves are not deadly. They are hollow with opening on each end much like a needle. These hollow teeth are used to inject the poison from sacks that are located in the back of the mouth. The place where venom is manufactured is special glands located on the snakes head. The venom glands are categorized and come in two types- false and true venom glands both found in different types of snakes. Do not let the word false fool you. The poison produced in false glands is still toxic poison. False glands are mucous producing glands that are found in strip running down either side of the head. They run from the snout to the eye, and lead to multiple ducts in the base of its teeth. There are also snakes that have a Duvernoy's gland that is situated under the skin at the edge of the jaw. Ducts at the base of the fangs allow the poison to be delivered.

True venom glands made of thick connective tissue and contain a separate compressor muscle as and a duct that connects them to a fang on each side of the snakes jaw. While snakes are immune to their own venom, they are not necessarily immune to venom form other snakes, even those of the same species.

Read the How to get rid of snakes page for helpful information and to learn more about How do snakes produce venom?

How do snakes produce venom?

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