|Classification and external resources|
Many kinds of animals, including mammals (e.g., the northern short-tailed shrew, Blarina brevicauda), reptiles (e.g., the king cobra) spiders (e.g., black widows), and insects (e.g., wasps, honey bees, ants and caterpillars), employ venom for hunting and for self-defense.
Most venoms are administered by biting the skin of the victim, but some venoms are applied externally, especially to sensitive tissues such as those that surround the eyes. In some reptiles, such as the Gila monster, venom in the saliva enters prey through bites of grooved teeth, but many animals have specialized organs such as hollow teeth (fangs) and tubular stingers that penetrate the prey's skin after which muscles attached to the attacker's venom reservoir forcibly squirt venom deep within the victim's body tissue. Death may occur as a result of bites or stings. The rate of envenoming is described as the likelihood of venom successfully entering a system upon bite or sting.
Diagnosis and TreatmentEdit
Diagnosing snake envenomation is a crucial step in determining which antivenom is to be applied. Each year there are around 2 million cases of snake envenomation and up to 100,000 deaths worldwide. Various antivenom treatments exist, typically consisting of antibodies or antibody fragments, which neutralize the venom.
- WEINSTEIN, SCOTT A.; DART, RICHARD C.; et al. (15 October 2009). "Envenomations: An Overview of Clinical Toxinology for the Primary Care Physician". American Family Physician. 80 (8): 793–802.
- Maduwage, Kalana; O'Leary, Margaret A.; Isbister, Geoffrey K. (2014). "Diagnosis of snake envenomation using a simple phospholipase A2 assay". Scientific Reports. 4. doi:10.1038/srep04827.
- GRAUDINS, A., M. J. LITTLE, S. S. PINEDA, P. G. HAINS, G. F. KING et al., 2012 Cloning and activity of a novel α-latrotoxin from red-back spider venom. Biochemical Pharmacology 83: 170–183.
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