Poisonous and Venomous Organisms
This chapter deals with poisonous and venomous animals such as venomous arthropods, snakes, toads, and lizards. The animal kingdom is populated by a vast variety of creatures. Many animals have developed chemical means of defense and/or food procurement. Every phylum within the animal kingdom contains species that produce poisons or venoms. The most well-known venomous animals are probably snakes. Venom is produced by a specialized gland and is delivered either injected into a wound or through biting or stinging (generally venom will not hurt if delivered other than this mode, even if you swallow it), e.g., snake venom. Most venoms and poisons are not composed of a single chemical substance but, rather, are mixtures of a variety of chemical compounds that often act synergistically to produce their toxic effects. Typical constituents include peptides, amines, serotonin, quinones, polypeptides, and enzymes. These compounds are collectively termed toxins. The pharmacological and toxicological properties of most venoms are incompletely understood because of their complexity, difficulties of obtaining sufficient venom, and extracting individual components. Anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions to venom components are possible.
KeywordsSnakes Venomous arthropods Fish poisoning Marine bites Biotoxins Venomous organisms Tick paralysis Question and answer bank Multiple choice questions
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