Tuesday, April 05, 2005

ENV: Snake venom

Open Wide: Decoding the Secrets of Venom
By CARL ZIMMER
The New York Times, April 5, 2005

The inland taipan, a nine-foot-long Australian snake, is not the sort of creature most people would want to bother. Drop for drop, its venom is the deadliest in the world, 50 times as potent as cobra venom. Its fangs are so long they can poke through the snake's lower jaw. Its victims collapse in seconds and suffer a quick death.

Dr. Bryan Fry, a biologist from the University of Melbourne, will readily admit he is not like most people. He not only bothers inland taipans; he hunts them down in dense cane fields, pins them down and bags them. Later he grabs them by the head and squeezes venom from their fangs.

Read the rest here.

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