The Science Behind Snake Venom

Snake venom is saliva carrying zootoxins that aid the immobilization and digestion of prey and protection against threats. Unique fangs inject it during a bite, and some species are also able to spit their venom.

Evolution of Snake Venom

Venom evolved among all Toxicofera about over 150 million years ago and then expanded into the vast venom variety seen today. The original toxic fern venom was an elementary set of proteins accumulated in a pair of glands. Subsequently, this collection of proteins evolved separately in the various lineages of toxicoferans, including Serpentes, Anguimorpha, and Iguania. Several snake ancestors have lost the ability to produce venom, often due to a change in diet or a change in predatory tactics. The evolution of venom is believed to be responsible for the enormous development of snakes across the globe.


Venom is a blend of enzymes, proteins, and other molecular materials. These toxics things work to slaughter cells, obstruct nerve impulses, or both. 

Although snake venoms are comprised of a sophisticated collection of enzymes, and non-toxic substances, they have historically been classified into three main types: neurotoxins, cytotoxins, and hemotoxins.

Cytotoxins: Cytotoxins are toxic substances that harm body cells. Cytotoxins lead to the death of most or all of the cells in an organ, a state known as necrosis.

Neurotoxins: Neurotoxins are chemical substances that are harmful to the nervous system. Neurotoxins work by interrupting neurotransmitters sent within neurons.

Hemotoxins: Hemotoxins are blood poisons that have cytotoxic effects and also disturb standard blood coagulation methods.

Snake Venom Working

Snakes use their venom carefully, infusing amounts adequate to incapacitate prey or to protect against predators. Snake venom works by breaking down tissues, leading to internal bleeding, paralysis, and death for the snake bite victim. For poison to take effect, it must enter the bloodstream. 

Most venomous snakes shoot venom into their victim with their fangs. Fangs are highly efficient at delivering venom as they penetrate tissue and allow the venom to drip into the wound. Ouch! Some snakes are also able to eject venom as a defense mechanism. 

Why don’t snake venom harm snakes?

Venomous snakes have many defenses to help them prevail immune to or less sensitive to their venom. Snake venom glands are located and structured to limit the poison from moving back into the snake’s body. Venomous snakes also have neutralizers to their toxins to guard against danger, for instance, if another reptile of the same species bit them.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.