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RE: Venomous Monitor

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Posted by: BGF at Thu Feb 11 14:27:52 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by BGF ]  
   

Two seperate parts to your question

- venom in varanids: yes it is there in all of them (the bacteria hypothesis is rubbish). Please see this page on my site http://www.venomdoc.com/venomdoc/Reptiles.html which goes into it and there are links to papers we have published on it as well as links to other pages on the site with additional information

- now, onto the program itself. TVland is of course all about ratings. Which of course means appealing to the widest audience. Which of course means aiming for the lowest common denominator through sensationalism and exaggeration. The danger posed from venom by varanids is presented way out of proportion on the show. We have gone to great pains to stress that the human medical implications are trivial. Venom is quite difficult to collect in varanids and there is no way what he got was venom. It was a tube full of mucus. So the statement 'I've never seen so much venom from anything' was made while holding a tube full of drool. We collect venom the same way we collect it from rear-fanged snakes: knock them out and hit them with pilocarpine. We end up with much larger yields than simply collecting the lumen contents (which is tricky to do and would not have been done on the show). As for it being used to treat stroke, none of those samples actually went to our research. We are intensively working on the medical applications of varanid venom peptides but are concentrating on blood pressure lowering toxins. However, we are collecting the venoms ourself.

Hope this helps

Cheers
Bryan






>>I was just watching the show Wild Recon on Animal Planet, where the host finds animals and collects venom for medical research. Anyway, he was in the country Jordan, in the middle of the desert, and caught some species of monitor. He opens its mouth and collects the "venom" and says that it might be used to treat strokes.
>>
>>I thought that only gila monsters, beaded lizards, and now komodo dragons are the only venomous lizards.
>>
>>Oh and the show is still on as I type this, now he is in some other country and caught a Lace Monitor, and is collecting its "venom" also. Are these blatant lies!?


   

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