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Poisonous Snakes

Grace Heritage Ranch

What would you think if someone suddenly pointed across the yard and shouted, “Look! A poisonous snake!” Would you panic? Run up to catch it? Or would you simply laugh and say, “There’s no such thing as a ‘poisonous snake.’?

Actually, you would be pretty correct in making that last statement. There technically is no such thing as a poisonous snake, although we do have four kinds of venomous snakes here in Texas (Coral, Cottonmouth, Copperhead, and Rattler).

The definition of the word “poison” as taken from reads: “any substance that can impair function, cause structural damage, or otherwise injure the body”.

This is true in reference to what happens when you are bitten by a snake. However, looking at the word “venom” as taken from it reads: “The poisonous fluid that some animals, as certain snakes and spiders, secrete and introduce into the bodies of their victims by biting, stinging, etc.”

What we get from this is that venom is in fact a kind poison. However the difference between a venomous animal and a poisonous animal is the way it is introduced into the victim’s body. Venom is delivered by means of injection, basically through fangs or a stinger, while poison is delivered by touch or ingestion. This is why you should not eat a poisonous mushroom or touch a poison dart frog. All venoms are poisons but not all poisons are venoms.

Snake venom is actually highly modified saliva which, depending on the species of snake, will differ in potency and function. Some snake venoms are designed to destroy blood and tissue cells (hemotoxins) while others are designed to cause nerve damage (neurotoxins).

Now all this talk of venom is not intended to unnerve you; in comparison to the four venomous snakes, Texas is home to over 70 beneficial and nonvenomous kinds of snakes.

To learn even more and get hands-on experience, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen, TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at or . For a recorded message, please call 1-855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.

The Copperhead snake is extremely poisonous.

The Copperhead snake is extremely poisonous.

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