Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snakes on the Plain

THE discovery of a small brown snake lying in the grass in a park, with a big chunk out of its neck, led to discussions about snakes - what they eat, where they are found and whether they are harmful. It turns out there are 36 different kinds of non-venomous snakes in Georgia, and 6 venomous.

What's the difference between venomous and poisonous? It's all in the delivery and the motive. Venomous creatures store toxins internally, delivering their toxic delight by fangs or a stinger to capture prey. Poisonous animals on the other hand usually release poison through their skin, when the animal is touched or consumed. Venomous animals use toxins to make dinner, poisonous animals to avoid becoming dinner.

Easy catch though it was, we left the ailing snake in the grass to become someone else's dinner.

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