We recently received a call to take in an unwanted anaconda. When we went to pick up the anaconda, its owner asked if we could also take 4 tarantulas and a couple of scorpions. One of the scorpions turned out to be a death stalker scorpion. The death stalker scorpion is the most venomous scorpion on earth and is on the list of the top eight most toxic creatures on earth. I don't think its previous owner knew exactly how dangerous this scorpion is. Below are the eight most toxic creatures not neccessarily in order of toxicity.
Poison arrow frog- Its skin contains a toxic chemical that sickens or kills any animal that touches or eats it. Two micrograms of its toxin (easily enough to fit on the head of pin) will kill a large mammal-or even a person.
Stonefish- Found in the Pacific Ocean and around Australia, this fish resembles a rock or piece of coral. Utilizing its camouflage, it attacks any fish that swims nearby. Its powerful toxin is stored in its 13 spines and can easily stop any predator in its tracks. In humans, the venom causes intense pain, swelling of tissue, shock and, eventually, death.
Inland taipan- A native to Australia, it is considered the most venomous snake on earth. One bite contains enough venom to kill about 100 people. Its venom can cause vomiting and will stop a person from breathing. Luckily, the taipan is known as a very shy and gentle reptile.
Box jellyfish- Found off the coast of Asia and Australia. Swimmers who bump into its tentacles by accident get introduced to its stingers whhich deliver a powerful punch. In addition to causing excruciating pain for weeks, its venom can stop the heart or paralyze the lungs, as well as eat away at the skin.
Blue-ringed octopus- The bite doesn't hurt, but the neurotoxins in its saliva quickly begin their deadly work. Within minutes, a person bitten will experience numbness and muscular weakness. Soon, the victim will stop breathing and die.
Death stalker scorpion- Found in North Africa and in the Middle East, the death stalker scorpion is known as the most venomous scorpion in the world. A sting from its small stinger causes unbearable pain, fever, coma, convulsions, paralysis and death.
Sydney funnel-web spider- This large, aggressive Australian spider produces among the most powerful toxins of any spider. This spiders venom is an neurotoxin that causes extreme pain and can kill a person in as little as 15 minutes. Its venom doesn't affect most mammals-just us!
Marbled cone snail- This snail lives in reefs throughout the world. Its venom is used to catch its prey. Sitting inside its shell, the snail sends out a kind of nose, called a proboscis. A sharp tooth at its end acts like a harpoon. The venom, a neurotoxin, travels through the tooth into the victim, paralyzing it almost immediately. Humans who have been bitten experience weakness, numbness, nausea and finally death, when the lungs stop working.
Venom May Hold Cure for Brain Cancer
By Amanda Beck
Doctors seeking treatments for malignant brain tumors have found promise in the venom of scorpions, according to a study released on Friday.
The study showed that a synthetic version of a protein found in the venom of giant yellow Israeli scorpions (death stalker scorpions) targeted tumor cells but did not harm the healthy cells of brain cancer patients.
"We're testing a new agent that has a lot of potential for patients who have had no meaningful treatments thus far," said Dr. Adam Mamelak, lead author on an article to appear in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
In the study, 18 patients first had surgery to remove malignant gliomas, a lethal kind of brain tumor. Then doctors injected their brains with a solution of radioactive iodine and TM-601, the synthetic protein.
The solution bound almost exclusively to leftover tumor cells, suggesting that it could be combined with chemotherapy to fight cancer. Furthermore, two study patients were still alive nearly three years after the treatment.
Because life expectancy for the 14,000 annual glioma patients in the
"Does that mean that the drug was miraculous? No," said Mamelak, a neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in
The synthetic scorpion venom was developed by Transmolecular Industries, Inc., a Boston-based company, and is one of several medicines recently derived from animal poisons.
Other researchers are investigating whether a protein in snake venom can stop bleeding and whether Gila monster venom can treat diabetes. They also have developed a painkiller based on the venom of a deadly sea snail.
Work with these proteins and molecules is the natural progression from previous science studying simpler plant extracts that have yielded key medicines, said Michael Egan, president of Transmolecular Industries.
"Evolution has had this stuff for a while, so chances are (animals) have a few things we can take advantage of," Egan said.
Giant yellow Israeli scorpions live in the deserts of the