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Are Western Hognose snakes considered "venomous"?

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by Tarantuloid, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Tarantuloid

    Tarantuloid Arachnoknight

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    It's sort of a controversial topic a bite isn't really harmful to humans unless you have an allergic reaction, I hear some saying they are considered venomous while others say they aren't.

    It appears that they don't possess true venom glands, but their saliva has a slight toxicity. I get kind of confused because if the snake isn't venomous and does not constrict prey, wouldn't they need something to paralyze or help kill their target?
     
  2. BrettG

    BrettG Arachnoprince

    I have a lot of respect for these snakes,as they CAN give you a fairly dirty bite( seen it myself).They are also terrible hunters,and just subdue their prey with their mouths/fangs.Once a hognose is on something,it is quite hard to remove it.
     
  3. fenhawk1

    fenhawk1 Arachnosquire

    Even human saliva is considered slightly toxic but that doesn't make us venomous; though I think they might be Opisthoglyphous (rear-fanged), like boomslangs or mangrove snakes. I think they have quite a mild venom but not sure.
     
  4. BrettG

    BrettG Arachnoprince

    They are rear fanged.
     
  5. pitbulllady

    pitbulllady Arachnoking Old Timer

    All members of the Heterodon genus are Opistoglyphs, which means that they are true "rear-fanged" snakes, and do possess both well-developed enlarged, grooved fangs at the rear of the upper jaw and well-developed Duvernoy's glands, connected to the rear fangs by a duct. Dr. Bryan Frye considers this feature to be a primitive venom gland and refers to it as such. He has documented some rather pronounced symptoms following a person allowing a Western Hognose to chew on their finger or hand for an extended time in a feeding response that were NOT consistent with allergic reactions, but with true envenomation, but does not consider these snakes to have "medically significant" venom, in terms of being able to inflict a truly dangerous bite, one capable of tissue damage or life-threatening in any way. Dr. Frye and other "venomologists" dismiss the "toad-popping" theory to explain the presence of the enlarged teeth at the rear of the mouth of these snakes, btw, and describes these teeth as true rear fangs intended to deliver venom by chewing. Keep in mind, though, that unless you entice and allow a H. nascicus to grab and chew on you, you re highly unlikely to experience envenomation in the first place.

    pitbulllady
     
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  6. lancej

    lancej Arachnolord

    Just watching a hognose eat a live toad or frog can demonstrate this. Before the toad or frog is swallowed completely (sometimes before the snake starts to actually swallow), the amphibian is completely limp. When I was a teenager, I had a 2 foot long Eastern Hognose that tried to eat a large bullfrog. It was an accidental introduction and the frog was too big to swallow. After about a minute or two of coaxing the snake to let go, it finally spit out the frog. The frog lost most of its coordinated motor skills - it couldn't sit straight, couldn't jump, basically looked really drunk. It was like this for over 24 hours without any improvement (actually got a little worse) until it was fed to the 4 foot hognose it was intended for.
     
  7. Tarantuloid

    Tarantuloid Arachnoknight

    Although I've quoted you, I've had a chance to read everyone's replies now that I'm off work. I always found it a strange subject as I was always told that hognoses have some form of venom or toxic saliva to paralyze prey since they're not constrictors. Someone I know had argued that Western Hognoses are not venomous at all, and while I believe they are probably as dangerous as a corn snake due to their docile nature, I'm still thinking this snake has to have some form of toxicity or venom in order to hunt.
     
  8. lancej

    lancej Arachnolord

    There are quite a few snakes that don't use venom or constriction to catch prey. The racers, coachwhips, indigos and cribos don't use any type of venom or constriction to subdue their prey. They grab and swallow their prey quickly. Reptiles and amphibians make up a bulk of their diet in the wild which makes constriction not a very effective way of dispatching them - it's too time consuming. This would make the snake vulnerable to other predators during the struggle to kill before consuming, resulting in either the death of the snake or the loss of the meal. The point to this is that there are snakes that are neither venomous nor constrictors.
     
  9. The Snark

    The Snark Dancing with the enemy gods Old Timer

    Obviously they are venomous. What is in question is the efficacy of the venom. Given the correct victim, the evolution of the animal has determined what it needs in order to survive. Maybe in a few more millenia the snake will lose the venom glands entirely. It is also possible that the venom substance is used by the animals digestive system to stimulate secretions of digestive chemicals. Just because an animal possesses an attribute doesn't mean it uses it. Look at the venom of the Latrodectus. When was the last time they had crustaceans on their menu? Or the cobras eating tadpoles, gulping them down whole, alive and unvemonated. Or the wolves eating mice, it's main diet in some locales. Those needle sharp fangs and neck musculature aren't exactly getting put to heavy use.
     
  10. pitbulllady

    pitbulllady Arachnoking Old Timer

    Best example I can think of to add to that would be sea snakes eating fish. In this case, you have a snake with some of the most potent venom in the entire reptile kingdom, which normally does not need it at all to subdue their prey. In videos I've seen of sea snakes eating, they eat like our water snakes-grab and swallow, while the fish is still struggling and very much still alive. It doesn't take them long to devour a fish, either, since most fish just slide right on down. The venom does not seem to deter bigger predators like sharks from eating sea snakes, either. The sea kraits, which are highly toxic and one of the few marine snake species to actually come on land, are also very docile and do not bite. What's the point in having such highly toxic venom if it's not used for either obtaining/killing prey OR self defense?

    pitbulllady
     
  11. Tarantuloid

    Tarantuloid Arachnoknight

    It's kind of funny because the wikipedia page (though not always accurate) is the first page that shows up for hognoses with the venom section stating that while it's controversial, it's agreed that hognoses are NOT venomous.

    It just doesn't sound right to me, I understand that there are snakes that are neither constrictors or have venom, but considering how terrible hunters they are I would've imagined some kind of venom to subdue prey.
     
  12. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    About "toad popping", I've watched many eastern hognose do this, I disagree with those that dismiss it. I suspect many that dismiss it are speculating without enough observation. I can especially understand scientists speculating with little observation since many are more into taxonomy and chemistry rather that housing and observing behavior. Some sps may not carry out this behavior but I know(in my own mind) the Eastern does, it's not every time though, it's the bigger toads it's having a hard time swallowing that they will do this to. I could see "experts" feeding several medium sized toads to the eastern and not seeing it take place and so dismissing it as rumor. At first it appears the snake is having a hard time grasping a large toad with it's rear fangs, sometimes you will hear a scraping noise. You can take a closer look to see it stabbing, a kind of cutting/scraping motion with one fang on one side, letting go and coming down again, over and over again, then after a while it will work the other side. I think people are mistaking it for trying to swallow the toad at that moment. Could I be wrong in thinking the snake is 'not' trying to swallow the toad? I've just seen it too often and to me it is an obvious behavior, something you have to see to believe I suppose. And a problem is, I guess the behavior is open to some interpretation as the what the snake is doing. But anyway, finally you will see bleeding and bloody bubbles coming up through an injured area on top of the toad's body where the lung was finally punctured, the big toad deflates and down it goes. If I come across another hog, I plan to finally document the behavior unless somebody beats me to it.
     
  13. pouchedrat

    pouchedrat Arachnolord

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    Just watching them eat you can see those teeth work back and forth. I love my crazy mean hoggies
     
  14. pitbulllady

    pitbulllady Arachnoking Old Timer

    I would definitely trust the word of one of the world's leading venom researchers over anything posted on Wikipedia, just sayin'. ANYONE can post to Wikipedia, after all.

    pitbulllady
     
  15. The Snark

    The Snark Dancing with the enemy gods Old Timer

    Why the Wikipedia bashing? EVERYTHING found on wikipedia must eventually have verified citations. As for Hognoses being venomous, from the wiki page "The venomous nature of hognose snakes is controversial, however it is generally agreed upon that they are indeed venomous. Although the venom is not considered dangerous to humans, a bite from a hognose can result in swelling and numbness at the site of the bite, though this is likely the result of a simple allergic reaction. Similar symptoms can result from dog and cat bites.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hognose

    Now before wiki bashing, if you disagree with anything on a wiki page, CHANGE IT and give your citation/reference! If you don't give a proper citation/reference you will almost certainly get the old revert. Wiki pages get millions of accurizations every day. It is up to YOU to help out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  16. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    Really agree with you here Snark, the pendulum swings too far doesn't it. I know some people that would read one thing on the internet that wasn't true and then try to discredit everything on the internet! Those people are really missing out imo. They just haven't learned to dig deeper trying to verify or haven't found more reliable sources. Though with a topic like this one, I think wiki will be subject to wishy-washy info because there are so many out there, unlike us, that just aren't interested and don't care. "A snake!, cut it's head off!, and don't get near the head, it can stay alive for 3 days and jump!"
     
  17. skar

    skar Arachnobaron

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    They are venomous .
     
  18. The Snark

    The Snark Dancing with the enemy gods Old Timer

    Okay, here is the quote from Dr. Bryan Frye which the wiki page I quoted has been inaccurately paraphrased. From his forum, http://www.venomdoc.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4484&highlight=heterodon
    "The toad popping mythology is completely wrong. They do have venom, they do use it but they are not medically important to humans. The most severe recorded bites have been limited primarily to localised swelling and blistering and these were under extreme circumstances (deliberate allowing of prolonged chewing). Effects that are utterly inconsistent with allergy."

    Galapoheros. What I constantly find astounding the the gullibility level of people and their unwillingness the execute the rudiments of scientific methodology. With thye web as a resource at ones fingertips, it's so bleeping simple a person should always try to shoot down any fact they come across. Set a medium high bar and go with what your web searches find in the first 10 or 15 minutes. Sheesh. I remember doing research for a couple of profs that entailed me driving about 500 miles a week and walking another 20 miles as I scoured libraries. But anyway, swallowing the first hunk of foo that pops up is ridiculous unless it supports findings you already have and appears based on facts and not personal opinions. I just shot that wiki page in the arse and have submitted a correction. I am now waiting for Dr. Frye to get back to me re: my inquiry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  19. pitbulllady

    pitbulllady Arachnoking Old Timer

    I don't normally rely on Wikipedia because even if you DO edit it, chances are the original author will go back and delete the changes. I have had that happen more than once. Tarantuloid posted that the Wikipedia page stated that Hognoses were NOT venomous, so I took his word rather than reading that page for myself. Now, if the page does verify that they are venomous, then someone must have misread it. They ARE venomous. Not medically-significant, as in capable of causing lasting or serious tissue damage or illness or fatalities, but they do have venom. For that matter, so do all Natricine snakes, including the Garter and Water Snakes, which also have well-developed rear fangs, and I have seen some folks experience some pretty nasty effects from a Garter bite, too, that are not consistent with allergic reactions, including numbness at the bite site, tingling and numbness of the extremities, headaches, ringing in the ears, etc., which are indicative of a neurotoxin, albeit a mild one. Many of the snakes previously thought of as non-venomous have been found to possess a Duvernoy's gland and grooved rear fangs for the delivery of venom.

    pitbulllady
     
  20. The Snark

    The Snark Dancing with the enemy gods Old Timer

    Sad but true about the wiki, at least in part. In fact upon retrospect, if a person hasn't worked extensively in higher academic circles where getting your efforts shot in the tukus is matter of fact and a nice surprise if it doesn't happen, editing wiki pages is extremely frustrating. I'm still waiting for the doc to give me the actual clinical findings then we can get the wiki page fully corrected and cite it here as accurate. IE they do, end of discussion.

    Let's clarify something slightly. Medically significant as defined by 2 paramedic handbooks is Any medical incident which is beyond the expertise of the average lay person to accurately diagnose and which requires some degree of intervention by a qualified medical practitioner in order to prevent a lasting or prolonged condition that could have been reduced or eliminated by the intervention.
    Note the use of the words 'some' and 'could have'. That entire glop translates as the judgement call of a physician in modern medicineeze.