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Copperhead Venom

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Copperhead Venom

Post by sujin007 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:31 pm

The copperhead is an ambush predator. It takes up a promising position and waits for suitable prey to arrive. Like most North American viperids, these snakes prefer to avoid humans and, given the opportunity, will leave the area without biting.

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Re: Copperhead Venom

Post by sujin007 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:32 pm

However, unlike other viperids they will often “freeze” instead of slithering away, and as a result many bites occur from people unknowingly stepping on or near them.

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Re: Copperhead Venom

Post by sujin007 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:34 pm

Copperhead venom has an estimated lethal dose of around 100 mg, and tests on mice show its potency is among the lowest of all pit vipers, and slightly weaker than that of its close relative, the cottonmouth.

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Re: Copperhead Venom

Post by sujin007 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:35 pm

Copperheads often employ a “warning bite” when stepped on or agitated and inject a relatively small amount of venom, if any at all.

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Re: Copperhead Venom

Post by sujin007 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:37 pm

The venom of the Southern copperhead has been found to hold a protein called “Contortrostatin” that halts the growth of cancer cells and also stops the migration of the tumors to other sites.

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Re: Copperhead Venom

Post by sujin007 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:38 pm

It will probably be ten or more years before contortrostatin is used in practical treatment but it has shown to be a novel anti-cancer drug in the lab.








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