“Red and yellow, kill a fellow.”
“Red and black venom lack.”
That is the poem I grew up with mom taught me to distinguish the highly venomous coral snake from our local mimic, the Louisiana milk snake.
With a nervous system attacking venom like that of their cobra cousins, the coral snake is without question one of if not the deadliest snake bites in America (mojave rattler is the other contender).
However, a recent study has discovered something that might get the striped serpent an edge.
This study shows the venom of the Texas coral snake in particular has ability to cause severe pain. The following is from an article at ucsf.edu…
The venom contains a toxic mixture of chemicals that includes two special proteins that join together, glom tightly onto tiny detectors on human nerve endings and don’t let go. These detectors normally sense acid burns, and after the snake bites, the victim’s brain receives unrelenting signals of an acid-like burn.
“Bites from this snake are associated with really intense, unremitting pain,” said David Julius, PhD, the Morris Herzstein Chair in Molecular Biology & Medicine at UCSF, who led the research. “This work helps to explains why and gives us new tools for examining how our brains perceive pain.”
But don’t break out the machetes to start slaughtering coral snakes.
There is also research that suggest certain subspecies venom can help treat epilepsy as well as breast cancer. We’ll have more on that soon but for now here is the article about the research on the Texas coral snake.
And although these snakes don’t rattle or show a white mouth to warn you, consider the toxins they can inject a big “Don’t Tread On Me!” declaration.
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