Venomous Animals Kill in Horrible Ways—And Also Cure


Vipers will make your flesh melt, Lonomia caterpillars will make you bleed, but Gila monster venom could treat diabetes.

What do Odysseus and TV wildlife expert Steve Irwin have in common? (Stingray barbs killed them both.)
What is the most venomous creature in the world? (The Australian box jellyfish.)
What does it feel like to get high on cobra venom? (Weird.)
Could bee venom cure Lyme disease? (Possibly.)

These are some of the fascinating stories Christie Wilcox tells in Venomous: How Earth’s Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry. When National Geographic caught up with her by phone in Hawaii, she explained why the king cobra packs such a punch; how snakes may have helped our ancestors evolve bigger brains; and why the Gila monster’s venom may hold the key to the treatment of diabetes and even Alzheimer’s.

Read more about the five most dangerous venomous creatures in the world on


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