Poisons of snakes

Due to their unique properties, snake venoms have long attracted the attention of physicians. Moreover, these days they are considered to be the most valuable raw material, extremely necessary for the pharmaceutical industry. Snake venoms are complex mixtures of organic and inorganic substances produced by the glands of some species of snakes. The composition and properties of the venom of different snakes are not the same.

Snake venoms are complex mixtures of organic and inorganic substances produced by the glands of some species of snakes

It is known that the venom of snakes is produced by the temporal salivary glands located behind the eyes, and accumulates at the base of the teeth (called poisonous). In the case of a bite, poison along the longitudinal grooves, or canals, flows into the wound. Usually only one of the venomous teeth functions, the second is the "deputy" in case of loss of the first. In addition to fangs, many snakes have upper teeth equipped with small teeth; for mambas and American snakes they are absent.

The venom of snakes as a whole is dominated by neurotoxins, which gives a characteristic clinical picture when bitten. In the bite area, there is neither a tumor nor redness, but death quickly results from the depression of the nervous system, primarily paralysis of the respiratory center. The bite of large snakes, such as cobra, represents a mortal danger to humans.

Scientists already know a lot about the venom of snakes, but they are extracted all over the world in the same way - reptiles "milk". For this, the captured snakes are kept in serpentariums and take poison from them once every 2-3 weeks. From small specimens 20-40 mg are obtained, from large ones - 500-800 mg.

Poisons of sea snakes are the strongest. After all, they eat fish and cephalopod mollusks, and cold-blooded fish are more resistant to snake venom than mammals and birds. The venomous teeth of sea snakes are fixed motionless in the anterior part of the upper jaw and slightly shorter than that of the terrestrial snakes. However, in most of them, the length of the teeth is sufficient to penetrate the human skin. Exceptions are species feeding mainly on fish caviar.

Snake venoms are used mainly in medicine, for example, as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory drug in diseases of the peripheral nervous system.