|Cobras, mambas, kraits,
coral snakes and sea snakes are elapids. They are all venomous snakes and
can be found in warmer parts of the world, except Europe and Madagascar.
The second family, Viperidae, includes vipers and pit vipers. These again
are all venomous snakes that have long, hinged fangs. They live in most
parts of the world, except in Australia and Madagascar. The difference
between the true vipers and pitvipers is that the pitvipers have an additional
sense organ located in front and just below the eyes. These are the so-called
heat pits that allow pit vipers to hunt with remarkable accuracy, even
in total darkness.
There are three types of
venomous snakes: opysthoglyph, proteroglyph and solenoglyph. The first
type are mostly harmless or mildly venomous snakes. Their fangs are enlarged
rear teeth with a groove that venom flows down while they are swallowing
their prey. However, there are snakes of this type that are known to have
killed humans before, for example the Boomslang (Dispholidus typus). Another
good example of this type is the Mangrove snake (D. dendrophila).
Scorpions have existed at
least for 200 million years and have survived without changing all the
global disasters so far. Most of them dont drink water all their life
long. They also can survive 500 days hunger. The scorpions can also resist
a high radiation and are probably the only ones who can survive a nuclear
war. Be a scorpion to survive easier!
A loving mother:
Having born its offspring, the female scorpion carries them on its back
for about 10 days ...if it has not eaten them already.
small, fixed, non-movable front fangs. When they bite they hang on and
chew their prey to envenomate it. Cobras (Naja), mambas (Dendroaspis),
kraits (Bungarus), taipans (Oxyuranus), coral snakes (Micrurus) and sea
snakes are good examples of this type. They are some of the deadliest snakes
in the world.
Solenoglyphs have movable
front fangs that fold back into the mouth until they are needed. These
snakes are very dangerous for they can open their mouths almost 180 degrees
with their fangs extended straight out. They can strike at any portion
of the body and their attack is much unpredictable. Rattlesnakes (Crotalus),
eyelash vipers (Bothriechis), gaboon vipers (Bitis), cottonmouths and copperheads
(Agkistrodon) belong to this type.
Snake venom is modified saliva
that is primarily used for hunting (capturing and digesting the prey).
Some venom is hematoxic (affecting the blood). Almost all American pit
vipers have hematoxic venom. It destroys tissues and causes great pain,
swelling and thinning or thickening of the blood.
Neuroxoxic venom attacks
the nervous system and causes death as a result of heart failure or suffocation,
though the bite may not be painful. Cobras and coral snakes fall under
Venom may function as hemotoxin,
neurotoxin or a combination of both. It is made up of 20 different enzymes
but species usually have 6-12 of them.
The production of venom takes
much energy. That is why snakes try to keep their venom supply and use
only the amount of venom that is necessary for a particular purpose. If
their aim is to kill a big prey, they will not hesitate to inject large
quantity of toxins; for a small prey smaller quantity of venom is needed.
If a snake is startled and bites in defense, then often the bite is dry,
i.e. contains no venom.