Snake venom is very poisonous saliva that contains zootoxins. It harms and kills humans and other animals. Venomous snakes are terrifying.
In the world, snake poison kills about 100,000 people a year. However, the animal kingdom has few animals that can withstand venom, and they can deal with the effects of a snake bite with remarkable strength as if nothing happened.
Read on as we discuss the animals immune to snake venom.
What Makes Some Animals Immune to Venom?
Researchers are still working on why some animals are immune to snake venom. However, some findings have been made.
So, let us discuss some of them.
- Very thick skin: A snake venom works faster than poison in the body. However, its contact with the skin won’t damage or cause rashes. A honey badger doesn’t go through this because a snake’s fangs won’t get through the dermis easily.
- Antivenom blood: Antivenin is a chemical that can fight poison in the blood. When it happens on its own in animals, blood mutations are the most likely cause. Some receptors stop the venom from getting into the blood, which stops its effects on the body.
- Cell mutation: The cell mutation is a more active form of antivenin blood, and we can find it in the mongoose. When someone bites a mongoose, the venom just bounces off of its cells.
Animals Immune to Snake Venom
Hedgehogs belong to the Erinaceinae subfamily of the Erinaceidae eulipotyplan family. They are divided into five genera and can be found in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
These animals aren’t native to Australia, and there aren’t any extant species endemic to the Americas.
They got their name because they like to go out and find food. They live in the wild and make grunting noises like a pig when they search for food.
Their quills make them look like porcupines, but the two species are not related at all.
These animals have some built-in protection against some snake venom because of the protein erinacin in their muscles. So, snake and scorpion venom do not hurt them.
It’s also interesting to watch, especially your pet hedgehog! Hedgehogs have a high value for snake venom resistance since they can survive attacks from venomous snakes.
However, the hedgehog can die from a snake bite because its immunity is incomplete.
2. Honey Badgers
Honey badgers are mammals found throughout Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. This species has a long, black body, and it is similar to a flat head with a short muzzle and small eyes and ears.
Its legs are short but sturdy, with sharp claws used to fight viciously.
Though the animal has a ‘badger’ in its name, it is not closely related to other badger species. Instead, it looks more like weasels.
The honey badger is an omnivore with one of the most diverse diets of any member of the weasel family. It eats roots, berries, and bulbs.
Small animals like birds, insects, and rodents, are also its favorites. Also, this badger occasionally targets larger and more complex species.
Snake bites are resistant to honey badgers in two ways. Their blood may produce antivenom, which effectively stops dangerous snake bites.
Aside from their blood, landing a bite on this animal can be problematic in the first place. It’s incredibly tough to pierce any area of a honey badger’s skin due to the thickness of its hide.
A mongoose is a tiny carnivorous mammal that belongs to the Herpestidae family. The Herpestinae and Mungotinae are the two subfamilies that make up this family.
The Herpestinae family has 23 live species native to southern Europe, Africa, and Asia. But the Mungotinae family has 11 African species.
We can distinguish mongooses by their bodies, faces, and long tails. Most of them have marked coats that resemble mustelids. Their claws are nonretractile, and they mostly use them for digging.
The mongoose is one of the toughest animals for attacking snakes. They hunt these animals with no preference for one species over another. People have used them for population control in several situations.
Snake poison can’t hurt mongooses because they have a mutation in their cells. Again, mongooses are very hardy. Their receptors “bounce” off the venom, so they don’t feel it.
This is because a glycoprotein covering the cells makes the venom useless, so it can’t hurt the cells.
4. Domestic Pig
The domestic pig is an omnivore animal that has been tamed and is now used for meat, milk, and other things. American mammals say that it is either a subspecies of the Eurasian boar or a new species altogether.
They have a broad head and a long snout. The snout is a susceptible organ that digs into the ground, searching for food. Pigs have both apocrine and eccrine sweat glands, and the eccrine glands seem to be limited to the snout and dorsonasal areas.
Even though it is a famous animal, it is not tough or hardy. However, pigs are a subspecies of the wild boar, a tough animal.
The a-neurotoxin found in snake venom is resistant to the domestic pig. There is a mutation in the receptors that respond to a-neurotoxin unique to them. The mutation stops the neurotoxic from binding, making the venom useless.
This means that different animals can’t poison them.
5. California Ground Squirrel
The California ground squirrel is standard in the western United States and the Baja California Peninsula. It has spread to Washington and northwestern Nevada in the past few years. However, it is most common in Oregon and California.
Ground squirrels live in groups that can quickly get out of hand if they aren’t checked. Their most active times are on hot days, and when it is sunny in the winter. Ground squirrels hide in their burrows when the wind picks up a lot.
There are different squirrels in the squirrel family, and each squirrel has their personality and ways to protect itself. However, the California ground squirrel has one of the most exciting ways to defend itself.
Though California ground squirrels are immune to venoms, they are not completely immune. They pick up rattlesnake skin. They lick themselves and their pups after chewing up this skin. This permits them to have a rattlesnake-like odor.
Then, it conceals them from their most dangerous predator, who hunts by scent.