Poisonous vs. Venomous - What is the difference?

Is the snake poisonous or venomous? It's pretty simple:

VENOMOUS: It injects venom from its fangs to kill you.
POISONOUS: You have to eat the snake for it to kill you.

In short, the correct term is "venomous snake", not "poisonous snake". A toxin is any substance that is harmful to have in your body. When considering venom vs poison, it's really the method of delivery that matters. If the toxin is actively injected, such as via fangs, then it's a venom. If you eat the toxin, or absorb it through your skin or something, then it's a poison. When we talk about snakes, the correct term is that they are venomous, since they inject the toxin through their fangs. In addition, while many toxins may be classified as poison (such as bad potato salad) snake venom is pretty specific, in that they contain active peptide toxins, including proteases, which bond with tissues and destroy it or neurotoxins, which disable signalling in the nervous system.

What would happen if you ate a venomous snake? Well then, if the toxin in the snake harmed you, technically it would called a poison, and thus a poisonous snake. And of course, eating snake venom (ur, I mean poison) would harm you, but it's worse when it's injected directly into the bloodstream. I'm no expert here, but it's possible that your stomach and digestive system would neutralize much of the toxicity of the substance.

1) It is big and fat (all in the USA, except that red-black-yellow coral, are fat pit vipers)
2) It is a rattlesnake, with real rattles on the end of its tail
3) It has elliptical pupils (but I doubt you're close enough to look)

Here are photos of the most common venomous snake species in the USA: Copperhead, Cottonmouth, Diamondback, Coral Snake

Understanding Snake Venom and How It Works

In layman terms you can say that venom is a poison released by some animals and directly injected into another animal. They use this poison either to defend themselves or hunt down their pray. The type of venom is defined by the animal that is releasing it. Every kind of reptile secretes some kind of venom, expect birds. They are the only types that do no secrete poison, on the contrary, they are considered to be very friendly. When we talk about venom, the first animal that comes in our mind is a snake. Snakes are famous for their venomous bites. The venom of the snake can be categorized into three basic group hemotoxic, neurotoxic and cytotoxic.

The most dangerous type is Hemotoxic, the name itself is derived from that damage it does to your red blood cells. It tends to cause hemotoxins i.e. once entered in your body, the venom will destroy the red blood cells of your body. It will also damage the anti-clotting phenomena of the blood. Other symptoms of a Hemotoxic bite include low blood pressure, destruction of body tissues and organs. The place where the snake bit you it will become red and swell. These bites are very painful and they can lead to permanent damage of the tissues. If you don’t get help at the right time, the bite can also lead to death. Besides killing the victim, this venom can also help in digestion process as it has the ability to break down the proteins. The death caused by hemotoxic is usually slower as compared to the deaths caused by other venoms. Also, the type of the snake and the place where it has bitten can lead to other problems such as disorientation, headaches and nausea in humans.

Like all other venoms, the hemotoxic venom is also transferred through the fangs of the snake and it enters your body once you are bitten by the snake. Hemotoxic is located in glands that are present in the head of the snake. You can categorize these glands into two types first the true venom glands and second the false venom glands. There is saliva releasing suprabial glands present in the false venom glands. Suprabial glands are located on both sides of the head and they are extended downwards. They then then divides in different ducts and every duct is attached to individual tooth. On the contrary, the true venom glands connect to just one fang of either side of the snake’s jaw. These glands consist of complex connecting tissues. You might want to read Why do snakes bite?

Many snakes that are venomous have heart shaped heads, so it is recommended that people should stay away from such snakes. In-case they are bitten by a venomous snake they should call for help as soon as possible and also try to remember the kind of snake it was as this will help the doctor identify the type of venom.

Poisonous snake or venomous snake - the answer is venomous snake. That is the correct term, because snakes actively inject the toxin into their prey. Snake venom vs snake poison - when it's injected into you, it's venom. When a researcher "milks" a snake, it is said to be extracting the venom from the reptile. So in conclusion, what is the difference between venom and poison? How it gets into your body. Learn more about How to Identify Snakes and How to Tell if a Snake is Venomous.

More information about snakes:
How to lure a snake out of hiding or hole?
Understanding Snake Venom and How It Works
How do snakes eat?
Do snakes live in holes?
Is it legal for me to catch a venomous snake?
What is a snake’s mating habits, when do they have babies or lay eggs?
How do snakes kill their prey?
Do snakes always inject venom when they bite?
Venomous snake vs poisonous snake
Do snakes run out of venom?
How do snakes produce venom?
What is the Deadliest Snake in the United States