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Posted by BGF on January 25, 2003 at 15:25:05:
In Reply to: spitter venom posted by Vipers4234 on January 25, 2003 at 14:30:42:
:I have a red-necked spitter and was wondering whether there is any health threat with venom on unbroken skin?
Nope. Snake venoms are proteins and consequently do not absorb through the skin. This is in contrast to the small organic toxins such as those found on poison dart frog skins, which can quite readily be absorbed.
Your real concern should be building up an allergy. Snake venom in powdered form is very allergenic. This will manifest itself by you having itching eyes, sneezing, etc. However, what this also means is that you would stand an excellent chance of going into anaphylactic shock upon being bitten. Due to the huge quantities of venoms I work with in the lab, I am severely allergic to snakes I've never been bitten by before. Indeed, I went into anaphylactic shock the first time I was bitten by a death adder.
I would recommend that you house the spitter in a separate room than your other herps and that everyone who goes in there must wear a particulate filter mask. A good rubber one from any hardwhere store (designed to block small solid particles) would perfectly (this is what I have to where in the lab now when working with open powdered venom). The surgical mask styles are useless since they are designed to stop the doctor from infecting the patient. When you inhale, the majority of the air comes in the sides since there is no seal.