Have you heard of mammals that are venomous? Animals usually produce venom to kill or disable prey, or to defend themselves from predators. Amongst the animals in the planet, fishes and reptiles have the most number of venomous species. There are a few species of venomous amphibians and none for birds though there are poisonous birds. Well, how about mammals, are there venomous mammals? Venomous mammals are quite rare. Here are the few venomous mammals or mammals that use poisonous or noxious chemicals in some form.
The Northern Short-tailed Shrew is a large shrew found in central and eastern North America from southern Saskatchewan to Atlantic Canada and south to Nebraska and Georgia. It has scent glands that release a musky secretion which repels some predators; males also use scent to mark their territory. This animal is capable of delivering a venomous bite. Glands in its mouth contain a neurotoxin that allows it to immobilize larger animals such as snakes and birds. If not able to find food within about a two-hour period, these small mammals will attack and eat each other.
The Eurasian Water Shrew, known in British English as the Water Shrew, is a relatively large shrew, up to 100 mm in length with relatively long tail. The shrew has venomous saliva, making it one of the few venomous mammals. Although it is not capable of puncturing the skin of large mammals such as humans it is capable of delivering a venomous bite.
Solenodons look similar to big hedgehogs with no coat of spines. They both have venomous bites; the venom is delivered from modified salivary via grooves in their second lower incisors.
The Platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. It is one of the only two mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young - the other is the Echidna. Males have a venomous spur on their hind legs. The calcaneous spur found on the male platypus's hind limb is used to deliver venom. Platypus is one of the few venomous mammals that can deliver venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. Although the venom is not lethal to humans, it is so excruciating that the victim may be incapacitated. Oedema rapidly develops around the wound and gradually spreads throughout the affected limb. Information obtained from case histories and anecdotal evidence indicates that the pain develops into a long-lasting hyperalgesia that persists for days or even months.
The Southern Short-tailed Shrew is a small, gray, short-tailed mammal as the name implies. It has been known to store snails for the winter. The saliva is venomous and is injected into the wounds of its prey by the teeth. Its venom is strong enough to kill mice, but is not lethal to humans.
Elliot's Short-tailed Shrew has a venomous bite.Itis a small, slate grey, short-tailed species of shrew. The appearance of the Elliot's Short-tailed Shrew resembles than that of the Southern Short-tailed Shrew. The mammal appears much similar to a rodent, but like other shrews is a member of the Soricomorpha order.
Slow lorises like Sunda Loris, Bengal Slow Loris and Pygmy Slow Loris have glands on the inside of their elbows that secrete a toxin that smells reminiscent of sweaty socks. They cover their babies in the toxin to protect them from predators,and put it in their mouths to give themselves a venomous bite, delivering the toxin via their lower incisors.
Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis
Skunks (sometimes referred to as polecats) are mammals best known for their ability to excrete a strong, foul-smelling odor. Skunks can eject this noxious fluid from glands near their anus. It is not only foul smelling, but can cause skin irritation and, if it gets in the eyes, temporary blindness. All skunks are striped, even from birth. The American Hog-nosed Skunk (Conepatus leuconotus) is the largest skunk in the world, growing to lengths of up to 2.7 feet (82.5cm),and weighing 2-6 lb (0.9-2.7 kg).
Some members of the mustelid family, such as the striped polecat, also called the African Polecat, Zoril, Zorille or Zorilla - which somewhat resembles a skunk also have this capacity to excrete a strong, foul-smelling odor. It is found in savannahs and open country in southern and west Africa. Like other polecats, this carnivore is nocturnal. It has several means of avoiding predators - aside from its ability to emit foul-smelling secretions from its anal glands; it also can play dead and climb trees. The zorilla is tagged as the smelliest animal on earth.
Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica
Pangolins or scaly anteaters have large keratin scales covering their skin and are the only mammals with this adaptation. They are found in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The name "pangolin" derives from the Malay word pengguling ("something that rolls up"). Pangolins can also emit a noxious smelling fluid from glands near the anus.
The Great Long-nosed Armadillo can also release a disagreeable musky odor when threatened. It is found in South America. The Great Long-nosed Armadillo has spurs on the hind legs that allow them to crawl on their knees into narrow tunnels. These animals are not as venomous or as deadly like the venomous fishes and reptiles but still they can inflict damage to humans. Extra care should always be observed when dealing with these animals.
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