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Mike Gwilym, Nicol Williamson and Sarah Miles in Venom (Piers Haggard - 1981)

(via Coffee coffee and more coffee: Coffee Break)

Mike Gwilym, Nicol Williamson and Sarah Miles in Venom (Piers Haggard - 1981)


La femme et le venin by Annette Messager, 1975Also
La femme et le venin by Annette Messager, 1975

Also

biomedicalephemera:

Boomslang - Bucephalus viridis [now Dispholidus typus]
Where the elapids and viperids have fangs at the front of their mouth for easy envenomation, boomslangs (a member of the Colubrids) are equipped with regular teeth at the front of their mouth, and venom-injecting fangs at the back. Because of this, even though their venom is extremely hemotoxic, they rarely are able to inject enough into a larger animal (such as a human) to cause death.
However, the bite of a boomslang is not to be underestimated - as it’s not always clear when the fangs have punctured the skin due to the other teeth leaving puncture wounds, medical help should always be sought out. The venom is almost completely hemotoxic, and the lack of neurotoxic symptoms can lead bite victims to believe that there was either no envenomation, or that they can just wait for their body to process the toxin.
This mindset is what led to the 1957 death of esteemed herpetologist Karl Schmidt. He believed that the amount of venom he received was negligible, but 28 hours later his blood was so thin that it was coming out of every hole in the body, including his eyes and ears[!!!], and no amount of medical treatment could have saved him. Early antivenin administration is critical.
Luckily, even if you’re in its natural habitat (forested areas in sub-Saharan Africa), you will probably never encounter a boomslang in the wild. They’re timid, generally dwell in trees more than 20 feet above the forest floor, and would much rather eat a small bird than waste their venom on a human. Most bites occur when someone tries to handle or kill one.
Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa: No. XXII. Andrew Smith, March 1845.

biomedicalephemera:

Boomslang - Bucephalus viridis [now Dispholidus typus]

Where the elapids and viperids have fangs at the front of their mouth for easy envenomation, boomslangs (a member of the Colubrids) are equipped with regular teeth at the front of their mouth, and venom-injecting fangs at the back. Because of this, even though their venom is extremely hemotoxic, they rarely are able to inject enough into a larger animal (such as a human) to cause death.

However, the bite of a boomslang is not to be underestimated - as it’s not always clear when the fangs have punctured the skin due to the other teeth leaving puncture wounds, medical help should always be sought out. The venom is almost completely hemotoxic, and the lack of neurotoxic symptoms can lead bite victims to believe that there was either no envenomation, or that they can just wait for their body to process the toxin.

This mindset is what led to the 1957 death of esteemed herpetologist Karl Schmidt. He believed that the amount of venom he received was negligible, but 28 hours later his blood was so thin that it was coming out of every hole in the body, including his eyes and ears[!!!], and no amount of medical treatment could have saved him. Early antivenin administration is critical.

Luckily, even if you’re in its natural habitat (forested areas in sub-Saharan Africa), you will probably never encounter a boomslang in the wild. They’re timid, generally dwell in trees more than 20 feet above the forest floor, and would much rather eat a small bird than waste their venom on a human. Most bites occur when someone tries to handle or kill one.

Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa: No. XXII. Andrew Smith, March 1845.

biomedicalephemera:

Ways to Die: Snake Venom

The vast majority of snakes that one encounters in the wild (unless you live in Australia or India) are either non-venomous to humans or want nothing to do with you.

However, should you stumble upon a rattlesnake nest or coral snake hole while texting in the middle of nowhere, there will probably be a combination of different enzymes and polypeptides pumped into your body, via the modified parotid salivary glands (right below the ear in humans) that snakes have evolved over the ages, to disable their prey. Of course, you’re not prey, but you stepped on a snake while texting. It has every reason to envenomate you.

While all snakes have multiple active enzymes in their venom, all snakes dangerous to humans have either neurotoxins or cytotoxins as a significant component in their venom. For the most part, elapids (such as the cobras and mambas) create neurotoxins, while the viperids (such as vipers, adders, and rattlesnakes) create cytotoxins.

Neurotoxins

  • Dendrotoxins: Inhibit neurotransmission by blocking the exchange of positive and negative ions across the pre-synaptic neuronal membrane, causing paralysis. Found in some rattlesnakes (such as the Mojave) and mambas.
  • Fasciculins: Destroys acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in synaptic clefts of nerves. Without AChE, acetylcholine (ACh) is not broken down, and remains bound to the postsynaptic vesicles of the nerve, leading to constant contraction of the related muscles. This is called tetany or tetanic paralysis. Found only in mambas.
  • α-neurotoxins: Very large group of toxins that mimic ACh and bind to post-synaptic vesicles, leading to numbness and paralysis. Found in cobras, kraits, and sea snakes. 

Cytotoxins

  • Cardiotoxins: Target muscle cells and cause depolarization. If enough of these components reach the heart, the depolarization can cause irregular heartbeat or spontaneous stopping of the heart. Can cause fasciculations in skeletal muscles. Found in the Naja genus, and in King Cobras. Minor but important component of mamba venom.
  • Phospholipases: Proteins that target the phospholipid bilayer of cells, causing cellular rupture. Can cause extreme blistering at site of bite. Relatively uncommon, found in the Japanese Habu.
  • Hemotoxins: Burst red blood cells (hemolysis), causing thin blood, internal bleeding, and blood clots due to the massive clotting response. Found to some degree in almost all vipers, as well as some cobras.

Images:
Top: Bungaris fasciatus - Banded Krait. An elapid, and the largest of the kraits. Has neurotoxic venom. [source]
Center Right: Hydrophis robusta [now Hydrophis spiralis] - Yellow Sea-Snake. The longest sea snake, at 3 m (9.8 ft). A member of the Hydrophiinae, separate from other elapids. Though they have some of the most toxic venom in the world, bites are extremely uncommon and often unnoticed. [source]
Center Left: Vipera russellii - Russell’s Viper. A particularly aggressive viperid. Necrosis and amputation following envenomation not uncommon, due to hemolysis and local cell damage. [source]
Bottom: Vipera caudisona [now Crotalus horridus] - Timber Rattlesnake. A venomous viperid endemic to the United States. Primarily hemotoxic venom, very low fatality rate, but very painful bites. [source]

biomedicalephemera:

“Death”Gaboon Viper - Bitis gabonica
Despite the fact that the Gaboon viper ends up on many of the lists of “World’s Deadliest” or “Most Dangerous” animals, it’s actually not anywhere near the threat that you might think. Similar to the Australian sea snakes (with some of the deadliest venom), its docile nature renders the fact that it produces the highest volume of venom much less of a threat than, say, an aggressive snake with a small amount of venom.
Granted, you shouldn’t go around picking these guys up or threatening them, but they don’t chase down intruders or threats.
Bitis gabonica is the largest of its genus (commonly known as the puff adders), and at 8.5 kg (19 lbs), is the heaviest viperid in the world. If they do manage to get a bite on someone, the hemotoxic venom can cause internal bleeding, shock, local blistering, and eventually necrosis and the need for amputation, if not treated immediately.
ETA: Apparently the Gaboon viper also has the longest fangs of any species, and that, combined with the fact that they produce the most venom and that when they DO bite, they inject venom about 3/4 of the time (as opposed to 1 in 4 times for most viperids), is why they end up on all of these “most deadly” lists. I guess it fits. Docile and chill creature overall, but don’t piss it off or you’ll be hurting.
The Uganda Protectorate. Sir Harry Johnston, 1902.

biomedicalephemera:

“Death”

Gaboon Viper - Bitis gabonica

Despite the fact that the Gaboon viper ends up on many of the lists of “World’s Deadliest” or “Most Dangerous” animals, it’s actually not anywhere near the threat that you might think. Similar to the Australian sea snakes (with some of the deadliest venom), its docile nature renders the fact that it produces the highest volume of venom much less of a threat than, say, an aggressive snake with a small amount of venom.

Granted, you shouldn’t go around picking these guys up or threatening them, but they don’t chase down intruders or threats.

Bitis gabonica is the largest of its genus (commonly known as the puff adders), and at 8.5 kg (19 lbs), is the heaviest viperid in the world. If they do manage to get a bite on someone, the hemotoxic venom can cause internal bleeding, shock, local blistering, and eventually necrosis and the need for amputation, if not treated immediately.

ETA: Apparently the Gaboon viper also has the longest fangs of any species, and that, combined with the fact that they produce the most venom and that when they DO bite, they inject venom about 3/4 of the time (as opposed to 1 in 4 times for most viperids), is why they end up on all of these “most deadly” lists. I guess it fits. Docile and chill creature overall, but don’t piss it off or you’ll be hurting.

The Uganda Protectorate. Sir Harry Johnston, 1902.

(via Mondorama 2000: Les glandes et leurs secrétions: expulsion du venin)

Source: La vie et ses merveilles, Globerama - (Éditions Casterman-1959)
Illustrateur: inconnu

(via Mondorama 2000: Les glandes et leurs secrétions: expulsion du venin)

Source: La vie et ses merveilles, Globerama - (Éditions Casterman-1959)

Illustrateur: inconnu

biomedicalephemera:

“Hi! I’m a snake! I’m here to live in your nightmares! When can I move in?!”
Thanatophis colgadora’s accepted binomial name is now Bothriechis schlegelii. It’s a pit viper (known as the Eyelash Viper) from throughout Central America, comes in tons of colors, and is not at all endangered. And given that it’s a pit viper, it is of course venomous. It usually doesn’t get above 2.5 ft., though.

biomedicalephemera:

“Hi! I’m a snake! I’m here to live in your nightmares! When can I move in?!”

Thanatophis colgadora’s accepted binomial name is now Bothriechis schlegelii. It’s a pit viper (known as the Eyelash Viper) from throughout Central America, comes in tons of colors, and is not at all endangered. And given that it’s a pit viper, it is of course venomous. It usually doesn’t get above 2.5 ft., though.

(via kenikila-deactivated20120316)