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Cardiac Response of Snakes after Ingestion of Toad Parotoid Venom

Lawrence E. Licht and Bobbi Low
Copeia
Vol. 1968, No. 3 (Aug. 31, 1968), pp. 547-551
DOI: 10.2307/1442023
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1442023
Page Count: 5
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Cardiac Response of Snakes after Ingestion of Toad Parotoid Venom
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Abstract

Parotoid gland venom from Bufo marinus was administered orally to unanesthetized toad-eating snakes, Thamnophis sirtalis, and the nontoad-eating snakes, Masticophis flagellum, Masticophis taeniatus, and Salvadora lineata. Venom dosages were 3, 10, and 20 mg/g of body weight. Electrocardiograms were recorded from all animals and used to determine differences in physiological response to the venom. All nontoad-eating snakes exhibited extensive cardiac stimulation and eventual lethal cardiac and muscular tetany. The toad-eating snakes were apparently unaffected by 3 mg/g venom. At higher dosages they were not affected nearly as rapidly or as obviously as the nontoad-feeders, yet they finally died without demonstrating drastic cardiac disturbance. Toad-eating snakes would not be expected to accumulate a lethal dose (between 3-10 mg/g in T. sirtalis) of parotoid venom at one time.

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