Snake + toxic toad = a deadly duo

Snake stores toxic toad pison in neck glands

Snake stores toxic toad pison in neck glands

Most snakes are born with poisonous bites they use for defense. But what can non-poisonous snakes do to ward off predators?

This snake Rhabdophis tigrinus eats poisonous toads for lunch and stores their toxins in its neck to kill other invertebrates and to protect itself from attack.

It is rare that a nonpoisonous invertebrate vertebrate can sequester toxins especially from vertebrate prey, A snake that’s dependent on a diet of toads for chemical defense is highly unusual.

It is found Found in eastern Russia North and South Korea, China Taiwan, Vietnam and in Japan.


Colored olive-drab green with black stripes and bright orange stripes from the neck down the first third of the body. The belly is whitish. It blends nicely into its surroundings on the forest floor. Its small size allows it to slither undetected to surprise its prey of small invertebrates, toads, frogs and mice. The average length is usually 60-100 cm (2to 3.3 ft).

To defend itself the snake will arch its’ neck to show off those toxin filled glands to warn predators not to mess with it. These toxins come from eating the toxic toad pictured below.

Toxic toad partner

Toxic toad partner

Now there are six toxins, according to researchers, that have been isolated from the snake’s venom that may hold promise for people suffering from hypertension and related blood pressure disorders.


Excerpts courtesy of Nonvenomous Asian Snakes ‘Borrow’ Defensive Poison From Toxic Toads ScienceDaily January. 31, 2007.

Excerpts courtesy of Rhabdophis_tigrinus

Image 1. courtesy of natural

Image 2. courtesy of shorties/226snake_toad

Image 3. courtesy of chemistryworld/News/2007/January/30010701.asp


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