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Is That Snake “Poisonous” or “Venomous”?

I hate snakes. I don’t mean like Indiana Jones hates snakes. They sometimes play a starring role in my nightmares, especially the rattlesnake and the cobra. The way they prepare to strike is scary, the way they attack frightening. I always wake up before I’m attacked.

I am surprised to write this: Snakes are not poisonous. Some are venomous and some are not.

Many people, including me, thought the two words are synonyms. My dictionary lists them as so. But all over the Web I found how they aren’t.

First, something venomous delivers its venom via injection, usually by fangs (snakes and spiders such as the very scary black widow) or a stinger (bees, another animal that scares me @&^%less). Something poisonous passively delivers its poison. Usually, someone has to touch it or ingest it for the poison to take effect.

So, a snake isn’t poisonous because it won’t kill you if you eat it. But a blowfish will kill you if you eat it, so it’s poisonous.

Now about those dreams …

Until next time! Use the right words!


November 6, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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