Venomous garter snakes [was: Russians create artificial human brain]
rsnorman at mediaone.net
Thu Apr 19 16:02:15 EST 2001
"Luke Campbell" <lwcamp at u.washington.edu> wrote in message
news:3ADF48E9.1A47BE65 at u.washington.edu...
> satchi wrote:
> I, on the other hand, was actually envenomated by a garter snake. Yup,
> harmless little yellow lined greyish black snakes that like nothing better
> do than cruise around your back yard, eating slugs and earthworms. It was
> venomous. It bit me. My hand swelled up and turned all sorts of funky
> colors for a few days. Don't believe me? The case is published in the
> Journal of Clinical Toxicology, author one Darwin Vest, a graduate student
> the local university doing research on garter snake toxicity who couldn't
> believe his luck that some stupid kid actually got nailed by one of the
> little beasties. I was only the second person on record to have ever been
> envenomated by a garter snake (and the first guy declined to be
> interviewed). It seems that the wandering garter snakes (Thamnophis
> vagrans) in the Palouse region eat more medow voles than most other
> populations, and have been evolving toxic slaiva to help them subdue their
> prey. The toxicity of garter snake saliva varies considerably from region
> region. Most are harmless. I have probably been bitten by hundreds of
> garter snakes from the same population (a consequence of catching reptiles
> a hobby), and only ever had a reaction to that one, and I survived without
> any permanent damage, so there is no real need to worry about the
> neighborhood garter snakes posing a threat to you or your children or your
> I also noticed that most people cannot tell venomous snakes from harmless
> snakes. They'll call the darndest things "highly venomous copperheads"
> water moccasins). Rattlesnakes are often easier to recognize, but a
> identification of a rattlesnake is often only done post mortem (for the
> snake, that is, as in "Geez, the critter ain't got rattles after all.
> just been a bull snake"). Chances are the little snake you almost picked
> actually was harmless. A good field guide should be able to help you
> distinguish the harmless critters from those that are best left alone,
> although the true water moccasins are often difficult to distinguish from
> some of the local water snakes at first glance.
The darndest thing! It really is true! See
Envenomation following the bite of a wandering garter snake
(Thamnophis elegans vagrans).
Clin Toxicol. 1981 May;18(5):573-9.
The toxic Duvernoy's secretion of the wandering garter snake,
Thamnophis elegans vagrans.
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