Snakebite & Envenomations

The bite of a snake can sometimes be fatal, dependent on whether they are venomous and the potency of poison. Other animals, insects and plants also have the ability to poison. One animal known to have high levels of poison is the black widow spider, an insect well known for having toxic qualities is the mosquito and poisonous plants include the likes of the mountain death-camas and marijuana. The affects of such poisonous elements vary, whether it is a hallucinogenic or fatal reaction, but are all hazardous to some extent when in contact with the human body.

Snake bite

There are many snakes that are not poisonous. However, when a person is bitten by a venomous snake this will often result in a medical emergency. The toxins released through the poison glands of a snake will often subdue or kill the victim, and there are some bites that can actually begin to break down the victim’s tissue. The affects can be fatal within a very short space of time. A child would need immediate attention due to their small size and the ability of the poison to work its way around the body quickly. If an antidote for the venom is readily available then it can be suitably treated, but if there is not one available then the results can be fatal.

Snakes known to be poisonous include the rattlesnake, cobra and coral snake. Symptoms include pain, swelling, seizure, dizziness, increased heart rate, puncture wounds and possible death. A diagnosis would typically be made according to these symptoms, and also by way of blood, urine and vomit tests, and a physical examination. Treatment would typically involve pressure around the wound to slow the spread of venom, and the use of anti-venom.


There are many other animals, plants and insects that are known to have poisonous elements. A scorpion, for example, would typically result in a painful response to the wounded area, vomiting, swelling, coma and possible death; though these last two should be prevented if medical treatment is received in good time. Poisoning by a plant can lead to itchiness of the infected area, vomiting and even death. There are plants around us every day that contain toxic elements, such as the daffodil and buttercup, but offer little threat. The affects of an insect bite will vary, with a wasp sting causing nothing more than a slight swelling as long as you are not allergic, while the bite of a mosquito in certain countries can lead to the contraction of yellow fever.