Does the mere thought of a snake curdle your blood? There could be a reason for your visceral reaction to snakes. Turns out some snakes venom will literally curdle human blood.
Harvesting the snake venom. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
A video posted back in April, which at this point has more than 2 million hits on YouTube and at the time got play on many blogs, is making its rounds in the mainstream media more recently. According to the description of the video uploaded by the user “fragrancemad,” research was being conducted for Cobra perfume by Jeannes Arthes and the poster came across this video and couldn’t resist posting it to the video-sharing site:
Basically, a single drop of this venom (from a Russell’s viper) is dripped onto a petri dish of blood, and in seconds the blood clots into a thick chunk of solid matter.
Dropping venom into the blood sample. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
Clotted blood after only a drop. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
Watch the reaction here:
A study from 1961 described that only 0.01 micrograms of venom is needed to clot the blood in the fashion seen in the video above.
The Huffington Post points out Dr. Terence Davidson from the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine explaining what a bite from such a viper can do. He writes:
It is a very dangerous snake. Large members of some species can easily deliver a lethal dose in humans. Victims will usually complain of pain at the bite site, and swelling may be evident. Substantial coagulopathy and acute renal failure may ensue. Unique to certain subspecies, there has been reported symptoms indicative of a neurotoxic and myotoxic venom including ptosis, dysarthrias, and generalized weakness. Prompt medical therapy avoids these problems.
These snakes are generally found from India to Taiwan and favor rodent prey, although they will attack humans when put on the defensive. It is considered the most dangerous snake found in Asia.
To learn more specifics on the venom’s clotting mechanism on blood, check out the University of Michigan website here.