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Poisonous vs. Venomous, which is it ?

2014-06-27_0712I think these are a couple of the most misused words when it comes to nature study and discussions.  Would it surprise you to know that there are no poisonous snakes?  None.  That is correct.  There are a number of venomous snakes out there however.  Here is the difference.  It is not just semantics either, it is important to understanding how plants, insects and animals are somewhat dangerous when they come in contact with humans.  

When something is labeled as poisonous, it simply means that the organism itself has toxins in it that if it came in contact with humans (and sometimes other animals) that it could cause harm to you.  This contact can be made by eating it, touching it, or simply brushing by it when walking through it.  

When something is labeled as venomous, it simply means that that animal (snakes are an example) can inject venom into you through the use of fangs, stinger, or another portion of themselves.  

With either venom or poison, coming in contact with it does not guarantee that it is going to be a death sentence for you.  Many of these animals, insects, and plants will pass on these toxins in such a way that you will get incredibly sick, but not necessarily die.  That doesn’t mean that there are not organisms out there that will kill you, there certainly are.  It just simply means that the vast majority of them will not kill you.  As with all dangerous items in the wilderness, be cautious, educate yourself, and keep going!  The more you know, the more you will see and enjoy.  Particularly when you know how to avoid things that will bring harm to you.

To further your study of this topic and to get a good grasp of things to avoid so that you can enjoy the outdoors more, check out this book. If you purchase it through this link, NRS makes a little money. Thanks for your support!  


Simple blog post on a simple but confusing topic.  Come on, join in, let’s learn together!


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