Snake-Poisonous Apparatus Structure:

The poison apparatus of snakes consists of a pair of poison glands, their ducts and a pair of fangs. In poisonous snakes the poison glands are situated one on either side of the upper jaw. The poison glands are possibly the superior labial glands or parotid glands. Each poison gland is sac-like and provided with a narrow duct at its anterior end. The duct passes forward along the side of the upper jaw and loops over itself just in front of the fang and opens either at the base of the fang or at the base of the tunnel on the fang. The poison gland is held in position by ligaments. An anterior ligament attaches the anterior end of the gland to the maxilla. A posterior ligament extends between the gland and the quadrate. Fan-shaped ligaments are situated between the side walls and squamoso-quadrate junction. The fangs are sharply pointed and are enlarged maxillary teeth. The fangs regenerate when lost.MECHANISM OF SNAKE BITE

Fangs are of two types

i. Open type and ii. Closed type.

In open type as in cobras the poison groove is open and in closed type as in vipers, the poison groove forms a tunnel having two openings one at the base and one near the apex.

The poison apparatus is associated with specialized bands of three types of muscles, viz.,

i. digastric ii. sphenopterygoid or protractor – pterygoid and iii anterior and posterior temporalis.

Digastric muscle is attached to the squamosal of the skull at one end and the articular of the lower jaw. Sphenopterygoid is attached anteriorly to the sphenoidal region and posteriorly to the dorsal surface of the pterygoid. It helps in pulling the pterygoid forward. Anterior and posterior temporalis muscles are attached to the side walls of the cranium and the lower jaw. They help in closing the lower jaw.

Snake Biting Mechanism

The mechanism of biting is a complicated process and it can be described in the following three steps.

i. Opening of the mouth:

By the contraction of digastric muscles the mouth is opened.

ii. Rotation of maxilla:

As the mouth opens the lower jaw moves forward and a rotation of the squamosal, quadrate and mandible in relation to each other occurs. Now the sphenopterygoid muscles contract. Thiscontraction results in the forward movement of pterygoid and up-pushing of the ectopterygoid. The upward movement of the ectopterygoid brings about a rotation of maxilla on its own axis round the lacrymal and as a result the fang is raised and becomes directed forward. The fang is nearly horizontal in position when the mouth remains closed. But during opening of the mouth to bite, the fang assumes almost vertical position.

Snake-Poisonous Apparatus

iii. Closing of mouth:

The closing of the mouth is brought about by the contraction of the temporalis and sphenopterygoid muscles. The point of fang is directed back ward while the mouth is closed. It takes longer time to open the mouth than to close it.

Toxicity of Snake Bite

The snake poison or snake venom is useful in killing the prey and in defense.

The poison is a pale yellow colored fluid made up of a mixture of two major types of powerful enzymes. They are

A. Neurotoxin:

It affects the central nervous system; especially the motor nerves and causes cardiac and respiratory failure. It is present in the poison of cobra (cobradin), Kraits, sea snakes etc. (except vipers).

B. Haemotoxin:

It includes cardio toxins and Haemorrhagins. It is present in the poison of vipers (viperidin).

Cardiotoxins: Affects the heart’

Haemorrhagins: It affects cardiovascular system. They contain enzymes like proteolysins, lecithinases, phosphoridases etc. Proteolysins and Lecithinases destroy the endothelium of blood vessels and cause profuse bleeding.

Phosphoridases produce haemolysis leading to cardiac and circulatory failures.

The general effect of snake – venom on the body of victim is as follows:

i. Blood clotting results in thrombosis

ii. Cardiac and respiratory failures

iii. Clotting power of the blood is reduced, which results in profuse bleeding.

iv. Blood corpuscles, linings of the blood – vessels and other tissues are destroyed.

v. Due to the presence of hyaluronidase in the venom there is a rapid spreading of venom.

Treatment of Snake Bite

First of all it must be confirmed whether the snake, which had bitten man, was in fact poisonous. A person bitten by any type of snake should by psychologically treated as it has been reported that, sometimes, due to the fear only the heart – failure results and man dies, even though bitten by a non-poisonous snake.

If a man is bitten by a poisonous snake the following first aid and treatment are prescribed:

i. Immediately send for a doctor and do not disturb the patient.

ii. Undue excitement and exertion should be avoided.

iii. If bitten on a limb, a tourniquet should be applied between the wound and the heart. This constriction should be either of rubber tubing or of handkerchief etc. The constrictions should be kept only for 20 minutes and then release J for one minute until the skin becomes pink and is again tigmened.

iv. After applying the constriction, make an incision about 2 cm. deep into the bitten area and keep ice on it. Suction of the venom may be done by a suction cup and not by mouth.

v. Do not apply potassium permanganate to the wound, as it is a tissue poison. Very recently, its use has been objected to.

vi. Keep the patient warm and absolutely at rest.

vii. Alcoholic beverages should never be given.

viii. Give hot coffee, tea or milk, if possible.



  1. Why does your picture claim that snakes evolved their poison after the fall of Eden when in the story it claims that they lost their legs at that point but we know from dna and the fossil record that the Komodo Dragon inherited it's poison from a common ancestor to the the snakes in question and this means that the poison existed before the loss of their legs, ergo before the fall. Also the story is allegorical. Just ask the senior Rabbi of my temple. Who I might point out is considered an authority not just by his specific followers but by the sect at large. Reform Judaism. It's currently the largest sect of Judaism in America, which is the country with the second largest population of Jews in the world. You can't argue that we don't know the old testament better than Christians. Especially when it comes to rabbis.
    So why include something so breath takingly unscientific? To claim that all multi cellular creatures were vegetarian is to ignore the evolution into multi cellular creatures. It's to ignore the mystery of how dna and even rna evolved to play a role and the potential precursors. It closes minds.

    Using the tanakh to close minds is very offensive to Jews. It's the opposite of the intent of the writings and of the religion it represents.