Author Archives: tomdotwhite

Water pistol defence! Squirting snakes, mammals and bugs.

First off, before I start the blog I would like to talk briefly about my last post.

I talked about how academics will say poisonous snakes, which when they mean venomous. I was talking to a senior lecturer in my department recently (who’s German) and we discussing the subject, and he said that in many languages there is no two words for venom and poison (I think in German it’s “gift”). Knowing this, I just want to say that I apologise to those scientists who do not have two words for venom and poison, as it is a fairly recent etymological event in English and may not have spread to other languages.

Anyway, onto the new blog!!

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I love venomous plants!

I want to start this article by saying, I understand the majority of people may not know the same amount of information about venoms and toxins as me, let alone animals in general, so this is not a rant nor am I having a go at any one (well…kinda) but this is an attempt to educate.

As a biologist with a keen interest in toxinology (that being, the science behind what makes bites and stings hurt), I need to understand the difference between poison and venom. Many articles and shows mention a “poisonous sting” or “the world’s most poisonous snake”, even Sir David Attenborough has talked about poisonous lizards (the issue I know of is in relation to the Gila Monster in “The Living Planet”). When spreading knowledge about these venomous creatures I feel it is unacceptable to mislabel them.

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