© 2021 WYPR
Header Background.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WYPR Features

Poisonous vs. Venomous

2187579343_e99f03ff25_z.jpg
MIKE KEELING/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
/

 

When children visit Irvine’s exhibit hall, they are often most excited to see our lively snakes. They can meet any of the 4 species of native snakes we have, from the corn snake to the leucistic black rat snake. Immediately, these kids step forward and want to get up close. And they have so many questions: “How big does it get? What does it eat? Where does it live? What animals eat it?”

But when adults visit, they often see a snake and quickly take one big step back. And they only have one question: “Is it poisonous?”

Of Maryland’s 27 species of snakes, only 2 are dangerous. But none are poisonous. Not one. And worldwide, few slithering species are poisonous. That’s because the small, select group of non-constrictor snakes that are dangerous are venomous, not poisonous. And it’s an important difference.

This is a rebroadcast.