What Happens If You Drink Rattlesnake Venom

The Effects of Rattlesnake Venom Ingestion

The Effects of Rattlesnake Venom Ingestion


Rattlesnakes are fascinating creatures that have intrigued humans for centuries. Found mainly in the Americas, these venomous snakes possess a potent venom that aids in immobilizing and eventually killing their prey. It is natural for one to wonder what would happen if the venom were ingested by a human. In this article, we will explore the potential effects of consuming rattlesnake venom while adopting a neutral and objective tone.

The Composition of Rattlesnake Venom

Rattlesnake venom is a complex concoction of proteins, enzymes, peptides, and other substances. While the composition may vary among different species of rattlesnakes, all venoms share certain common components. Two of the most abundant proteins found in rattlesnake venom are crotoxin and phospholipase A2 (PLA2). These proteins possess various pharmacological properties that can impact the human body in numerous ways.

Theoretical Consequences of Ingesting Rattlesnake Venom

Although it is highly discouraged and dangerous to ingest rattlesnake venom, certain theoretical consequences can be predicted based on the knowledge we have accumulated so far. It is important to note that no controlled experiments have been conducted on humans in this regard due to ethical reasons.

Gastrointestinal Effects

Consuming rattlesnake venom could potentially cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances. The enzymes present in the venom, such as phospholipase A2, may disrupt the normal digestion process and lead to inflammation and tissue damage. This could result in abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and internal bleeding.

Cardiovascular Effects

Rattlesnake venom is notorious for its ability to affect the cardiovascular system. Crotoxin, a key component of rattlesnake venom, can interfere with blood clotting mechanisms and promote the breakdown of red blood cells. Ingesting such venom could potentially lead to cardiovascular problems, including abnormal bleeding, reduced blood flow, and even heart attack.

Neurological Effects

The neurotoxic properties of rattlesnake venom make it a potent threat to the nervous system. Neurotoxic components, such as snake venom metalloproteinases, could interfere with the normal transmission of nerve impulses and cause significant damage. Ingesting rattlesnake venom may result in symptoms such as dizziness, impaired coordination, muscle weakness, and even paralysis.

Experimental Evidence

While ingestion of rattlesnake venom is not recommended or studied in humans, several experiments have been conducted to investigate its effects on animals. These experiments serve as valuable sources of information regarding the potential consequences of venom ingestion.

Rat Studies

In one study, rats were administered a low dose of Crotalus atrox venom orally. The results showed a significant increase in the clotting time of the rats’ blood, indicating an interference with the blood clotting mechanisms. Additionally, histological analysis revealed damage to the gastrointestinal mucosa, inflammation, and hemorrhages.

Snake Studies

Surprisingly, some species of snakes possess an extraordinary ability to consume venom without suffering ill effects. For instance, certain snakes belonging to the genera Dasypeltis and Rhabdophis have been observed ingesting highly venomous prey without any apparent harm. This intriguing phenomenon, known as venom resistance, highlights the complex evolutionary adaptations that have occurred in these species.

Anecdotal Evidence

While anecdotal evidence should be approached with caution, it can provide valuable insights into the potential effects of ingesting rattlesnake venom.

There have been rare cases where individuals accidentally consumed rattlesnake venom and reported experiencing severe symptoms. These symptoms included intense abdominal pain, vomiting, excessive salivation, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and rapid heartbeat. However, it is essential to remember that anecdotal evidence is subjective and cannot be considered definitive scientific proof.


In conclusion, the ingestion of rattlesnake venom can have severe and potentially lethal consequences for humans. The complex array of proteins and enzymes present in the venom can interfere with various physiological processes, leading to gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and neurological effects. While no controlled studies have been performed on humans due to ethical concerns, evidence from experiments on animals and anecdotal reports provide valuable insights into the potential dangers of rattlesnake venom ingestion. As such, it is strongly advised to avoid consuming rattlesnake venom.

Christopher Flores

Christopher H. Flores is a passionate herpetologist and writer with an extensive knowledge of reptiles and amphibians. He is an experienced contributor to websites dedicated to educating others about the fascinating world of snakes. Christopher has written several articles about different species of snakes, their habits, and how to care for them. He also enjoys researching and writing about the history of snakes, their behavior, and the unique ways they interact with humans. Christopher is an advocate for snake conservation, and he works to ensure their safety and well-being.

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