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Animals and the Myriad Ways They Can Kill or Heal Us - Essay Example

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Snake Venom: Poison or Medicine? Institution: Lecturer: Snakes are potentially dangerous creatures and many dreads getting anywhere closer to them. An encounter with a snake is not only scary to many, but may also lead to painful consequences, even death in case of a snake bite which is not timely treated…
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Download file to see previous pages With treatments of this manner, it is fascinating therefore to learn how medical scientists have managed to turn the deadly poisonous venoms to medicine for treating various ailments in human beings. What then is poison or venom? Though used interchangeable, warns Dr. Vernon (2012, 1, paragraph 2) the two are different in meaning and are distinguished from one another in the method of delivery. Poison, he writes, is absorbed, ingested or inhaled while venom is injected. This resonates with Gibbons et al. (1990, 273) argument who define venom as a toxin produced in certain glands of one animal and mechanically transmitted by biting or stinging. This provides the hypothesis that all venoms are poisonous, but a poison is not necessarily venom. The King cobra is an example of a venomous snake and provides a perfect specimen for this study. Allow me to introduce to you the deadliest snake in the world; The King Cobra, also known as ophiophagus hannah or the snake eater. Named so because of its dietary habit of preying on its ‘kin’s’ (feeds on fellow snakes). ...
It has a broad and flattened head with the neck having a narrow hood which can be extended when threatened (WildScreen, 2013, 1, paragraph 2) .A single bite of this snake can easily kill a human. Worse still, a full- grown Asian elephant can die within a time limit of 3 hours if bitten on the trunk by this dangerous snake. In addition to the above features, most snakes normally produce a hissing sound in response to threat; however, this cannot be said of the King Cobra which makes a distinctive growl emanating from the throat and deepens as it grows. Dangerous as it is, this snake species is harvested for its meat, skin and bile which are used in traditional medicine (WildScreen, 2013, 1, paragraph 12). What type of Venom does the King cobra posses and how does it work? There are three different types of venoms namely; Hemotoxic, (attacks the cardiovascular system), Cytotoxic (targets specific muscle groups) and Neurotoxic (attacks the brain and the nervous system) venoms. Some snakes combine the venom types while others carry specific form of venom (WiseGeek, 2013, 1, paragraph 2). Ophiophagous hannah is one such which exhibits a combination of the three, but is predominantly Neurotoxic venom (Dr.venom, 2010, 1, paragraph 2). In the same line of reasoning, Corporation (2004, 273, paragraph 2) provides corroborating information which marries with that of WiseGreek. He posits that neurotoxins attack the nervous system, preventing the impulses from controlling the muscles thus paralyzing the victim. He adds that snake venoms are formed from enzymes, which are protein in nature. More so, different snake species have different cocktail of venoms which either work individually or in groups to achieve the desired end; neurotoxins, myotoxins and hemotoxins. Most ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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