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What’s the Difference Between Poisonous and Venomous Animals?

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way. Listen to the words and spell through all three levels. Definition of venomous.

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  6. Other Words from venomous venomously adverb. Examples of venomous in a Sentence The cobra is a venomous snake. Recent Examples on the Web The copperhead is the most common of the three venomous snakes known to inhabit the state, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. First Known Use of venomous 14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2. Learn More about venomous.

    Resources for venomous Time Traveler! Explore the year a word first appeared. Dictionary Entries near venomous venom venomness venomosalivary venomous venomsome venose venous.

    venomous - Dictionary Definition :

    Time Traveler for venomous The first known use of venomous was in the 14th century See more words from the same century. English Language Learners Definition of venomous. Kids Definition of venomous. Comments on venomous What made you want to look up venomous? Get Word of the Day daily email! Test Your Vocabulary. Portuguese Swedish Greek Old Norse. Love words? Need even more definitions?

    Ask the Editors On Contractions of Multiple Words You all would not have guessed some of these A Look at Uncommon Onomatopoeia Some imitative words are more surprising than others Literally How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts. Poisonous organisms do not deliver their toxins directly; rather, the toxins are induced passively. A poisonous organism's entire body, or large parts of it, may contain the poisonous substance, and the poison is often created by the animal's specialized diet.

    Unlike venoms, poisons are contact toxins, which are harmful when eaten or touched.

    Humans and other creatures can suffer when they come in direct contact with or inhale airborne material such as urticating stinging nettle-like hairs, wing scales, molted animal parts, feces, silk, and other secretions. Poisonous secretions are almost always defensive in nature.


    A creature can come in contact with these secretions even after a poisonous organism is long dead. The defensive contact chemicals produced by poisonous insects may include severe local pain, local swelling, swelling of the lymph nodes, headache, shock-like symptoms and convulsions, as well as dermatitis, rashes, and upper respiratory tract complications. Poisonous insects include members of quite a few groups: butterflies and moths order Lepidoptera , true bugs order Hemiptera , beetles order Coleoptera , grasshoppers order Orthoptera , and others:. Venomous black widow spider bites, snake bites, and jellyfish stings certainly sound more dangerous than contact poisons, but in fact, in terms of worldwide exposure, the more dangerous of the two is undoubtedly animal poison, since it doesn't require animals to take an active role in the toxin delivery system.

    Share Flipboard Email. Debbie Hadley is a science educator with 25 years of experience who has written on science topics for over a decade. Updated January 20, Black widow spiders bite to inject digestive enzymes that liquefy their prey. Brown recluse spiders have short fangs that inject a cytotoxic cell-killing venom into their prey. Honey bees use a modified ovipositor egg-layer as defensive equipment.

    Venomous or Poisonous?

    Bumblebees sting defensively. Hornets, yellowjackets, and paper wasps are defensive stingers. Velvet ants use a modified ovipositor defensively. Fire ants sting defensively. Stinging caterpillars use barbed spines or hairs as a defensive mechanism. Blister beetles produce a caustic chemical when they are threatened.

    Monarch butterflies gain a defensive flavor by eating milkweeds, and birds that eat them only eat one. Heliconius butterflies have similar defensive poisons in their systems. Cinnabar moths feed on poisonous ragworts and inherit the poison. Lygaeid bugs feed on milkweed and oleander.