News & Features — 4 April 2018 at 10:02 am

Why venom isn’t all bad.

Venom: Kill and Cure

Venomous snake experts from The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine are helping the Natural History Museum in London put on a exhibition about venomous creatures from around the globe. The exhibition is called Venom: Kill and Cure and will be on show at the Natural History Museum, London, until 13th May.

At up to 3 metres long, with a speed of 5.5 metres per second and an ability to lift 3 quarters of its body weight off the ground, the well-camouflaged snake in the previous photo is a Black Mamba. It’s black mouth and tongue giving it the name. The Black Mamba is an audacious creature with a primarily neurotoxic venom. Envenomation with this neurotoxin can lead to death in as little as 30 minutes, owing to respiratory failure. While you wouldn’t want to come across a Black Mamba while walking through a remote forest, here is a fantastic exhibition where you can discover not only the tireless work of scientists battling snake bite, a neglected tropical disease, but also the potential health benefits of some of the most complex toxins on earth. All within the relative safety of the Natural History Museum. Apart from the one live exhibit that is.

Venom pervades the natural and human world everywhere on Earth and not always in the way you might expect. There are ants with venoms stronger than cobras, and other venomous predators are regularly served up in seafood dinners.’

Dr Ronald Jenner, venom evolution expert at the Natural History Museum.

Tickets can be bought on the door or online at a reduced rate.