Venom is a toxin secreted by certain animals as a means of defense, aggression, or trapping prey. Given that venom is used by many different species of animals, it is a prime example of convergent evolution. This indicates that venom is a significant evolutionary tool that works extremely well aiding in an animal’s survival. Venom is usually associated with snakes, including cobras, rattlesnakes, and copperheads. However, other animals have adapted to using venom as well, such as lizards, spiders, insects, amphibians, and even mammals. The only class to forego any venom is birds.
Venom is infamous for its dangerous effects on people, but there are also proposed medicinal uses for venom. A blood-clotting protein found in Taipan venom has been found to stop excessive bleeding; components of Malayan Pit Viper venom has shown potential for breaking down blood clots and treating strokes; and various enzymes from cobra and copperhead venoms might be instrumental in helping with Parkinson’s Disease and treatments in cancer.