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Posted by BGF on March 12, 2003 at 14:50:34:
In Reply to: Re: PS posted by King Baboon on March 12, 2003 at 08:49:22:
Much has been made of the venom being as toxic as a rattlesnake. So what. The lethal dose would therefore be in the neighborhood of 100 milligrams. Even with chemical stimulation, these snakes can't give more than a few milligrams of venom. The venom is mostly composed of large enzymes and consequently the effects would be primarily localised swelling and itching. This is in contrast to the Colubrine subfamily/family within the Colubrid superfamily/taxonomical-dumping-ground. The Colubrines typically have very potent neurotoxic venom and some (such as Telescopus and Psammophis) can have very very large venom yields. Telescopus has extreme yields for its size. However, the fangs are fairly pathetic so the relative danger posed by them is also low but due to a poor delivery system rather than weak venom.
So, from a technical perspective, yes H. gigas is venomous. However, from a practical/legislative perpective it is in my opinion essentially non-venomous.
We have several papers in the works on various colubrid venoms.