Watch Those Venomous Mammals!


Reptiles usually come to mind when we think of venom, but mammals have some of the most painful and devastating venom known.

The effect of some of the venom described below is horrendous. Please be aware some descriptions are graphic.


Number 1: Shrews

Some shrews have venomous saliva to help them kill their prey. Their venom is not too serious for humans, though. It will only cause a little pain and swelling. They use their venom to subdue and kill frogs and rodents. It’s a neurotoxin.

Number 2: Vampire Bats

Next, we have vampire bats. These mammals are the only ones to live exclusively on the blood of other animals. It’s questionable if they are considered venomous, but they have a special chemical in their saliva to stop blood from clotting. The chemical is called ‘Draculin’.

Vampire bats spread a lot of disease, though. The most common, of course, is rabies.

Number 3: Monotremes

Third, we have the monotremes. These are the platypus and the echidnas. There is only one kind of platypus and 4 kinds of echidnas. They are all thought to be rather primitive mammals because they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. They have highly specialized snouts and no teeth. But like other mammals, they have hair, a high metabolic rate and produce milk for their young.

Platypus venom is made in the hind legs and feeds into a half inch (1.27 cm) spur. This is only true of the male and is only functional during the breeding season. They apparently use it to conquer rivals for mates.

The venom is not fatal to humans but is extremely painful and is resistant to pain killers like morphine. It causes nausea, lymph node swelling, as well as muscle wasting in the affected area.

Number 4: Slow Lorises

Fourth, we have the slow lorises. Slow lorises are one our closest primate relatives. They are adorable to look at, but their bite carries a flesh-rotting venom. When threatened, the slow loris will raise its arms and quickly lick the venom from a gland in its armpit.
The venom is an oily substance that then runs down grooves in the teeth to enter the wound in the victim. The bite is strong enough to pierce bone. The bite is excruciatingly painful. Afterwards, the victim’s flesh rots away, and they can actually lose body parts.

Number 5: Solenodons

Lastly, there is the solenodon. These shrew-like little animals deliver their venom by their teeth just like snakes do. They use it to subdue their prey of frogs, reptiles, insects and worms. Their venom is not lethal to humans, though.

By the way, there is a difference between venom and poison. Venomous animals bite or sting you, while poisonous ones must be touched or eaten to transfer the poison. It’s a small but valid point.

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