According to the World Health Organization, there are over 3,000 species of snakes in the world, but only 600 of them are venomous. One venomous species, the Inland Taipan, for example, is considered the deadliest snake in the world, producing enough venom to kill 100 people with a single bite (via Zee News). Every year, nearly 140,000 people die after having a fatal encounter with one of them, BBC reported.
To no one’s surprise, snakes are among the most feared animals, and they are part of the collective imagination as a symbol of evil and chaos. Despite their reputation, they are crucial in keeping the ecosystem’s balance (via Save The Snakes). They are also a valuable asset for science, and over 200 species are useful for medicine, especially for antivenom production.
Snakes venom is not only used in antivenom
Snakes produce venom to defeat their prey and also to protect themselves against predators. According to Let’s Talk Science, it is produced by the salivary glands on the back of their heads and is released when they bite something.
A single dose of antivenom can cost up to $14,000 for a patient, Smithsonian Magazine reported. To produce it, researchers force a snake to bite the edge of a jar, dripping the venom. The amount of venom produced by a snake depends on the species and size; according to the University of Florida, the amount might vary from 1-850mg (“or more,” notes the university). The next step is to inject it inside an animal and later collect its antibodies.
Each species produces a different type of venom, and it can be used for treating pain, reducing blood clots, and even in beauty treatments. King cobra’s venom, for example, is rich in protein and is used in medications to treat chronic pain. It costs $153,000 per gallon, the second-most expensive venom on Earth (via Modern Farmer).
Coral and Brown snake venom costs $4,000 per gram. While Coral’s venom is used to produce antiviral and antibacterial medications, the Brown snake is used in antivenom production.
The Surprising Reason People Could Age Slower In Space
Cholera Is Responsible For Modern Sewer Systems. Here's Why
20 Birds That Can't Fly
What Fans Don't Know About Angela Lansbury
The Unbelievable Story Behind A Man Who Was Lost At Sea For 133 Days
Here's Where You'll Find The Largest Waterfall In The World
The John Wilkes Booth Theory That Would Change Everything
Why Thurgood Marshall Wasn't A Huge Fan Of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Most Dangerous Islands On Earth
Here's Why Prince Philip Never Became Prince Consort