Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
Moreover, even between these two allied genera of pitvipers, the differences in the action of the poison are sufficiently marked to be easily recognizable, and to render the most effective anti-venomous serum for each slightly different from the other. However, they are near enough alike to make this difference, in practice, of comparatively small consequence. In practice the same serum can be used to neutralize the effect of either, and, as will be seen later on, the snake that is immune to one kind of venom is also immune to the other.
But the effect of the venom of the poisonous colubrine snakes is totally different from, although to the full as deadly as, the effect of the poison of the rattlesnake or jararaca. The serum that is an antidote as regards the colubrines. The animal that is immune to the bite of one may not be immune to the bite of the other. The bite of a cobra or other colubrine poisonous snake is more painful in its immediate effects than is the bite of one of the big vipers. The victim suffers more. There is a greater effect on the nerve-centres, but less swelling of the wound itself, and, whereas the blood of the rattlesnakes victim coagulates, the blood of the victim of an elapine snakethat is, of one of the only poisonous American colubrinesbecomes watery and incapable of coagulation.
Snakes are highly specialized in every way, including their prey. Some live exclusively on warm-blooded animals, on mammals, or birds. Some live exclusively on batrachians, others only on lizards, a few only on insects. A very few species live exclusively on other snakes.