The Texas coral snake is the most beautifully marked snake in my home state and I just had the great pleasure of filming with a large one for an episode of God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore.
A recent study shows this snake which is known to have potentially deadly venom also has a special ability to cause severe pain. The following is from an article at ucsf.edu…
The venom contains a toxic mixture of chemicals that includes two special proteins that join together, glom tightly onto tiny detectors on human nerve endings and don’t let go. These detectors normally sense acid burns, and after the snake bites, the victim’s brain receives unrelenting signals of an acid-like burn.
“Bites from this snake are associated with really intense, unremitting pain,” said David Julius, PhD, the Morris Herzstein Chair in Molecular Biology & Medicine at UCSF, who led the research. “This work helps to explains why and gives us new tools for examining how our brains perceive pain.”
Described this week in the journal Nature, the work teases apart the components of the Texas coral snake’s venom and shows how they work in the human body.