Is there a difference between poisonous and venomous snakes?

Is there a difference between poisonous and venomous snakes?

Venomous and poisonous sound similar in meaning, because they both have toxic substances—a toxin that is highly dangerous or deadly.

A poisonous snake secretes a poisonous toxin from the glands of its skin. When a predator tries to eat the snake, it tastes terrible. The toxin is a deterrent to predators, so that in the future the animal will not attack the snake. The North American Garter snake, the Asian Keelback Snake, and the Groove-Necked Keelback Snake are examples of poisonous snakes.


A venomous snake has toxins in its fangs (two sharp front teeth). When the fangs bite into a prey, the venomous toxins are injected into its body and the animal gets sick or dies. Examples of venomous snakes include the Adder, Boomslang, Cobra, Mamba, Sand Snake, Taipan, and Viper. 

So, poisonous snakes have poison in or on their body. Venomous snakes inject or spit venom into their prey.

Other venomous animals include some spiders, scorpions, and other animals that have toxin in their fangs, stingers, spines, or teeth. 

Transcaucasian Sand Viper
Asp Viper

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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