Voraciously Heinous and Veinous Venom
Do you have a strong stomach?
Seriously. Don’t just click that video all willy-nilly.
If you do proceed, you’re in for one of the most whoa-inducing demonstrations of venom chemistry that I’ve ever seen. You’ll have to ignore the annoyingly dubbed audio.
The Russell’s viper is native to the Indian subcontinent and is responsible for a huge number of fatal snakebites. They can deliver 4-5 times the lethal dose of venom in a single bite, using what I can only scientifically describe as horrendous knife-like appendages of piercing death poison.
The coagulants (the blood-clotting factors) in venom like this thicken the blood by causing a protein called prothrombin to activate into its active thrombin form. By snipping off a little piece of the prothrombin molecule, kind of like pulling a pin from a grenade, the thrombin acts as a switch to activate a whole mess of things in your bloodstream that gel up and form fibers. Normally, this would help stop bleeding, but in the case of the snake it just kills you from the inside (a charming cause of death referred to as “disseminated intravascular coagulation”).
There are more deadly snakes in the world, but I’ve never seen venom that acts in such a dramatically disgusting fashion. There is a silver lining, though. The venom is so good at clotting blood that it led to medical blood clotting aids to help stop wounds and a common lab test to diagnose lupus.