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"Venomous Animal's: Meet Earth's 10 Most Lethal Creatures

 



Throughout the animal kingdom, there exist certain creatures that employ the use of toxins in order to effectively subdue their prey and ward off any potential predators. Venomous animals, ranging from slithering snakes to vibrantly-colored frogs, are a testament to the incredible marvels that can be found in nature. Taking a closer look at their unique biology, diverse characteristics, and integral roles within ecosystems can provide insight into the secrets of these truly captivating creatures.




1# Box jellyfish (including Chironex fleckeri)






Swimming with box jellyfish can be incredibly dangerous. These creatures have been associated with numerous unexplained deaths of swimmers all around the world. Certain species of box jellyfish are known to produce toxins that are extremely powerful and can cause severe damage to the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. The consequences of coming into contact with these creatures can be dire, with some swimmers going into shock and drowning, or even dying from heart failure before they can reach safety.




2# Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum)






The Gila monster, a venomous lizard commonly found in the USA and Mexico, is known for having the most painful bite of any vertebrate. A journalist who experienced the bite described it as feeling like "hot lava coursing through your veins". However, despite the excruciating pain, there have been no reported deaths of humans from a Gila monster bite. Interestingly, the lizard's salivary glands produce a neurotoxin that is relatively mild and contains a hormone that scientists have found to be helpful in treating type 2 diabetes.



3# Funnel-web spider (Agelenidae family)






It's worth noting that there are additional creatures that possess venom beyond the gila monster that could prove to be valuable for humans. For example, the funnel web spider's venom is harmful to primates and humans, but not to other animals that produce antibodies to neutralize the toxins that primates cannot. Nonetheless, the molecule within this venom could be instrumental in treating heart attack patients as it effectively blocks the "cell death message" and prevents further damage. Scientists are optimistic about the potential of this molecule to provide life-saving treatment.




4# Cone snail (including Conus magnus)






It is important to take note that while the majority of sea snails are considered harmless to humans, the cone snail is an exception to this rule. This particular species possesses a venomous "harpoon" which has the potential to cause a range of serious health issues such as respiratory failure, paralysis, impaired vision, and even death. As a result, it is crucial for divers to exercise caution and avoid any contact with these creatures. Despite the potentially fatal consequences of their venom, scientists have recently discovered that cone snail venom has valuable medical applications. Currently, it is being researched as a potential source of pain relief for individuals who are suffering from cancer and HIV.




5# Stonefish (Synanceia genus)






The stonefish is a creature that can pose a danger to swimmers who are unaware of its presence. With its speckled appearance and tendency to linger on the muddy or rocky floors of marine environments, it can be easy to accidentally step on one. If this happens, the fish's needle-like spines on its dorsal fin can cause a painful sting that can even be deadly. Despite this, the stonefish can also be used as a food source, particularly in parts of Asia where it is considered a delicacy. However, it is important to note that the venomous spines must be removed carefully before consumption. 



6# Inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus)






While many snakes are harmless to humans, a significant portion of them are venomous and can be extremely deadly. In fact, snake bites are responsible for more fatalities than shark attacks on an annual basis, with approximately 200,000 deaths occurring each year. Among the most dangerous of these venomous species is the saw-scaled viper. Though small in size, this snake is known for its aggressive behavior and high mortality rate. It is widely regarded as one of the most hazardous snakes in the world and should be approached with extreme caution.





7# Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)






Were you aware that certain mammals possess venom? The duck-billed platypus is one such mammal, a fascinating creature that lays eggs and possesses venomous ankle spurs for protection. While not fatal to humans, a kick from a venomous platypus can cause severe pain and even paralysis or death in smaller animals like dogs. It's no wonder that Winston Churchill was intrigued by these remarkable creatures!




8# Slow loris (Nycticebus genus)






Despite its adorable appearance, the slow loris is actually the only known venomous primate. It produces venom by mixing an oil from its brachial gland with its saliva. The loris licks this gland, activating the venom, which it then uses as a chemical defense by either rubbing it onto its fur or injecting it through a bite. Scientists believe that the venom primarily serves to deter parasites from making a home in the loris's fur, but it may also be used to protect against predators or as a weapon during breeding season fights with other lorises. Animal dealers often remove the slow loris's front teeth to conceal its venomous bite, due to the creature's toxicity leading to mistreatment in the illegal pet trade.





9# Shrew (Soricidae family, including Blarina brevicauda)







It's true that even cute and cuddly shrews can have a venomous bite. Unlike snakes which use fangs to deliver venom, shrews have a specialized duct at the base of their incisors that delivers venom through grooves in their teeth. This venom is used to paralyze and subdue their prey. Interestingly, the venom of the northern short-tailed shrew is similar to that of the Mexican beaded lizard - a relative of the gila monster. One of the components in the shrew's venom is being studied for its potential use in ovarian cancer treatment.





10# European mole (Talpa europaea )







Let's talk about the European mole - a small and adorable mammal that can be found in gardens. Despite their cute appearance, these creatures are actually venomous. Similar to shrews, moles use their toxic saliva to paralyze and capture earthworms, which they store alive for later consumption. Unfortunately, this means they can leave unattractive piles of soil on your lawn.





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