Stonefish are good pets

Poison as a weapon

Chemical weapons

There are two types of poisonous animals: on the one hand, animals that use their poisons for food or defense and, on the other hand, animals whose bodies contain toxic substances and which cause poisoning when eaten.

Most animals produce the toxic substances in special glands and body fluids such as saliva or blood. With the help of spikes, teeth and claws or sophisticated techniques - spitting and spraying - the poisons are then brought to the enemy or the victim.

Since snakes cannot chop up their prey, they have to devour it all at once, skin and hair. The poisonous snakes paralyze it with their venom so that they are not injured by the prey during the swallowing process.

The life-threatening substance is stored in glands and is injected into the victim's body through so-called catches, needle-point teeth.

Spiders also produce substances in poison glands. Their venom drips from an opening at the end of the claws.

Poison for self defense

Stonefish inject their venom with sharp spines. They are among the most poisonous fish. However, your weapon is used more for self-defense than for catching prey.

As a rule, they burrow in the seabed for a long time. Their brown spines are perfectly adapted to the ground. A poison pump is only set in motion when it is trampled on by an unsuspecting beach holidaymaker.

The stonefish poison is fast and powerful, but deaths are rare.

Deadly delicacies

In some animals, toxins are only found in the skin or in the meat. Only when they are eaten are they harmful.

For example, many puffer fish contain deadly poison. In Japan, however, the raw, thinly sliced ​​meat is considered a treat. Only a licensed cook is allowed to prepare the delicacy, the innards and skin must be carefully removed.

Some types of crab are also better not to go into the saucepan. Especially in Southeast Asia, many people have upset their stomachs from crab soups. Shock and respiratory paralysis as well as deaths are not uncommon.

The crabs' toxins are drawn out during cooking and then float in the soup. Presumably the crabs ingest the poison through their food.

Frog poison for pain

The poison from snakes and spiders, fish or frogs is said to kill or deter. At the same time, it fulfills an extremely important requirement that makes an effective drug: Animal toxins work extremely precisely and selectively, other tissues or organs are spared.

An example of an animal poison that can be used in medicine is the poison of the poison dart frog. Normally, their skin secretions lead to cramps and paralysis. In animal experiments, however, it also showed a pain-relieving effect that was many times more effective than that of morphine. Positive side effect: the substance does not seem - like other opiates - to be addictive.