OCT 18, 2016 5:41 PM PDT

Venom versus Poison: what's the difference?


So what's the difference between venom and poison? Turns out that the distinction is purely in the method of delivery; poison has to be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed, while venom must be injected into a wound. Chemically, venoms and poisons are both considered toxins, and the same compound can even constitute both poison and venom in different animals. One example of this is tetrodotoxin, which is 10,000 times more toxic than cyanide. Tetrodotoxin is found in puffer fish as a poison and in blue-ringed octopi as a venom. Some animals can even be poisonous and venomous, such as the Asian tiger snake!

Humans have tried to harness the power of the toxins in poisons and venoms for thousands of years. Today, toxins are often the chemical catalyst for new medicines. The poison from cone snails is used as a painkiller, and scorpion venom might one day be used to treat heart disease!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover Record-Breaking Rodent
AUG 05, 2020
Scientists Discover Record-Breaking Rodent
In a year of extremes, researchers have also unveiled a new record-breaking animal—the highest dwelling mammal on ...
AUG 20, 2020
Health & Medicine
Studying the World's Deadliest Animal
AUG 20, 2020
Studying the World's Deadliest Animal
Imagine hundreds of mosquitoes feeding on your arm for the sake of research! This is one unique aspect fueling the work ...
OCT 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
OCT 07, 2020
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
A team of astronomers has found a lone planet the size of Earth drifting through the Milky Way. Known as a ‘rogue ...
OCT 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
OCT 07, 2020
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
For the first time in about 3,000 years, Tasmanian devils have returned to mainland Australia. According to a report fro ...
NOV 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Rediscover "Lost" Chameleon Species in Madagascar
NOV 04, 2020
Scientists Rediscover "Lost" Chameleon Species in Madagascar
Voeltzkow’s chameleon was recently rediscovered after disappearing for more than 100 years. According to an articl ...
NOV 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
Noise Pollution Threatens Norway's Orcas
NOV 12, 2020
Noise Pollution Threatens Norway's Orcas
Orca pods heavily depend on vocal communication for survival. Their unique ability to communicate with other pod members ...
Loading Comments...