The words poison or poisonous are often used when we may mean venom or venomous. However, the words have different meanings. A poison is something ingested (eaten or drunk) or absorbed, whereas venom is something injected. A poison can be many things, manmade, such pesticides and a host of other chemicals, or natural, as in mushrooms, toadstools, nightshade and other plants. Botulinum toxin, produced by bacteria, is the most lethal toxin (poison) known. Poison ivy plants produce a toxin that is absorbed by the skin. If you’ve ever had it, you know how unpleasant it is.

Venom is injected by spiders, bees, a variety of other insects and, of course, snakes and other venomous reptiles. Fortunately, we have few venomous reptiles in the Skiatook area.

What I find interesting about envenomization is that, in general, offensive stings (envenomization), used to subdue or kill prey, are delivered by mouth. Examples being spiders, centipedes and venomous reptiles. Defensive stings are delivered by the tail. Examples are the stinging insects — bees, wasps and ants.

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E-mail lindsey.chastain@skiatookjournal.com

Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.