Coral snakes are one of the venomous snakes that are differentiated into two different divisions, Old World coral snakes and New World coral snakes.
16 species of Old World coral snake in three genera are present in this world, and over 65 acclaimed species of New World coral snakes in three genera can be seen.
These snakes differ broadly in their nature, but in a very indefinable manner, snakes that are involved in burrowing remain beneath the ground for the most of their time, they come to the surface only at the time when there is rain or during the onset of the breeding season.
Some species, are almost completely water living and spend almost whole of their lives in unhurried moving water bodies where dense vegetation is present. Smaller snakes, frogs, lizards, small rodents nestling birds, etc.. are the favorite food of coral snakes.
Hollow fangs to deliver their venom are naturally present in the front portion of their mouth, which have a fixed position and are not retractable, and in spite of their direct connectivity to the venom duct, a small groove-like structure is present which allows the entering of venom at the base of the fangs.
There is a requirement of the chewing type of motion by the snake when it bites due to the small size of fangs and their incapability of fast and quick venom delivery. So they hold on to their victim and do not let go easily. The venom exerts its full effect after some time of injection.
Coral snakes do not possess aggressive behavior and are not seen to be biting more often. In the US less than one percent of cases of coral snake bite are recorded every year. In captivity, these snakes live up to seven years.
So, can you eat coral snakes? Generally speaking, coral snakes are safe to eat. As long as the snake is prepared correctly to avoid contamination of the meat and to ensure that the snake’s venom is not present when cooked. However, laws may prevent consuming Coral snakes and there may dangers involved with capturing and killing the snake. As we love snakes at The Beta Pet, we don’t advise anyone to eat a snake.
Can You Eat A Coral Snake, Things To Consider
There are two main things needed to be kept in mind before eating a venomous snake. They are:
Points to be noted during venom intake
Generally, snake venom can be digested by the enzymes present in our stomach and hence, will not harm our body and will not be lethal. To be fatal to someone the venom must come in contact with the blood or tissue of the person who is consuming it or bitten by a snake.
If there is even the smallest cut or abrasion present in the person’s mouth, esophagus, stomach or intestines, he or she should definitely avoid the venom ingestion because in these conditions the venom will not get digested and then proves to be lethal to the person. Hence, hypothetically you can intake the venomous snake’s head or venom only, but, one should definitely avoid the encounter.
Precaution while cutting the snake
When you cut a venomous snake you should preferably remove the head first as early as possible to cut it because even after twenty minutes of being severed, the decapitated head has the capability of biting the next person he comes in contact with and inject him or her with the venom it posses. They can kill you back even after being killed by you.
The real-life example of such a situation is a Chinese chef. He was once preparing a soup made from a type of spitting cobra. He was doing his preparation work and it was almost complete. Then, at last, he was going to throw the head of the cobra in the trash when suddenly that head bit him and injected all its venom in the chef’ s hand.
Twenty minutes had already past after the cutting of head when it bit him. You should know the heads of some severed snakes are able to bite and poison till an hour after their decapitation and be a complete revengeful organism at that moment.
Difference between venom and poison
Venom and poison are two different things, not the same ones as we have always considered them to be. Venoms are compounds which are lethal in nature and are produced by the creature itself.
But poisons are generally requisite by the organism or we can say the prey items. Usually, the creatures present near or at the bottom of the food web are the creatures from which poison is sequestered.
They include organisms like mushrooms, bacteria or beetles. A majority of venoms have transformed in structure and function for the violent purposes of an attack on prey, and defenses against the predators. Poisons, on the other hand, are whole solely evolved for defense purposes and not for the attack on the prey.
Mechanism of venom action is by the toxin level of working. They are toxic compounds and when entering the body tissues of an organism or the lymphatic or circulatory system of the creature, whether it is prey or a predator, the breakdown of toxins occurs.
Generally, their main agenda is to cause least of the harm to the organism that has taken in them. This little harm will only happen if there are no leakages present in the digestive system of that individual because then it will get digested.
Whereas poisons are the form of toxins that are targeted to be ingested or absorbed through the skin, mucous membranes or the stomach of the potential predator. They are really dangerous if by any chance they are injected into the flesh of that particular individual.
Venoms usually have a specialized and localized function and perform in a particular compartment fashion. They are dependent on physical mechanisms which are complex for entering of toxins. In contrast to venoms, poisons are present throughout the body tissues and skin of the target animal, especially with the locations and parts of the body that store variant amount of toxins according to their structure.
What does snake venom do?
Unfortunately for us human beings a large number of snakes are either in the category of venomous or in that of poisonous, and some are the rare cases that include the condition where the snake possess both qualities. Some specific populations of particular species of Garter Snakes (Genus Thamnophis, species sirtalis, couchii, and atratus) and Tiger Keelback Snake, Rhabdophis tigrinus which are cousins to the Garter’s are also both venomous AND poisonous.
Snake venom is nothing but highly structurally and physiologically transformed saliva that contains zootoxins. These zootoxins arrest the movement and digestion of the attacked organism and provide a defense against possible danger. It is either injected by usually present fangs when bitten or being spat by some species that have the ability to spit.
The glands responsible for the secretion of the zootoxins are an evolved form of the parotid salivary gland generally present in other types of vertebrates and are usually located on either side of the mouth, at the bottom and back of the eye and capsulated in a muscular cover.
Large alveoli are present in these glands in which storage of the synthesized venom is done before being passed on by a duct to the basal portion of the tube-like or channel like fangs which ejects it in liquid form.
Debatable points on whether to eat a coral snake or not
The meat of a coral snake is not usually sold commercially in the markets, there are not present a set of particular, firm health standard points like the other kinds of meats have. “Rattlesnake Roundups,” sell the Rattlesnake meat regularly and has an ambiance
which is comparable in the environment to rodeos. The places selling snake meat frequently have been found having very low standards of food they provide, raw material they use and the meat that they offer. Sometimes the meat is found with the growth of pathogenic microorganism that is stuck to the flesh and can cause a number of diseases.
This bacterial growth can be autoclaved by a properly regulated cooking system. Freezing and complete, thorough cooking, results in the diminishing of the least of the strains of the harmful bacteria present in snakes gut or other body parts.
If the snake venom is effectively prevented from has entered the bloodstream, then it is safe to eat a coral snake. Snake flesh and meat provide a lot of health benefits like they are quite low in fat and calories. The meat is rich in proteins. In the coming years, we can see a lot of population consuming snake meat because of their flavor and various health benefits. The key concept of consuming coral snake is proper handling and cooking to diminish the chances of infections or food poisoning issues.
To simply summarize it, the glands producing these toxins that are venom and poison are customarily situated in the head region behind the eyes and seldom broaden to some extent into the neck area. In some other wordings, get rid of the head; and you are ready to eat the snake without any harm. Now, since you are in possession of knowledge, to go forward and eat like a machinist. Decapitate it, rip its skin off, roast the flesh over a fire properly and get pleasure from the delicious savor.