Did you know that a single snake bite can kill an adult elephant in just a few hours? And if you’re not careful, snake venomc can kill you in only 15 minutes.
But that’s from a venomous bite. What if the venom was already collected and you took a swim in a pool full of the stuff?
What would swimming in venom be like? How would snake venom affect your body? And could this actually be good for you?
So how many snakes would it take to fill a swimming pool with venom? An average swimming pool has at least 100,000 liters (26,000 gallons) of water in it. On average, a venomous snake can produce anywhere from 1 (0.03 oz) to 850mL (28 oz.) of venom.
So in order to fill up an entire pool with snake venom, it would take hundreds of thousands of snakes. To get the venom, you’d have to milk the snakes. Yup. You can actually milk a snake for its venom.
Okay, now that we have our pool filled with venom, what would happen once you jumped in? You’d probably notice that swimming in snake venom isn’t very different from swimming in water.
When venom is in the snakes fang’s it’s about as thick as ketchup, but once it’s extracted the viscosity lowers. This makes it easier for the venom to flow into the prey’s bloodstream. So an entire pool of the stuff won’t feel all that different from swimming in water.
And as for smell? Well, it won’t really smell like anything. And if you happened to accidentally taste the venom, it would taste like a somewhat sweet, almost tangy version of water.
But wait. When do you die? I mean, this is WHAT IF after all. Here’s a surprise.
If you were to swim in snake venom, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t die! The reason is that you’re swimming in something that’s venomous rather than poisonous.
You see, poison is something that can harm you if eaten, inhaled or touched, but venom needs to be injected into you through a wound. So swimming in venom really wouldn’t do anything to you, that is unless you have any open wounds.
If you do go in this pool with any sort of cut, then you’d be in big trouble. The venom would quickly seep into your veins and would give you a number of issues, mainly blood clotting.
What was once liquid, is now a thick jelly-like paste. Blood clots would form, eventually clogging your blood vessels which would then lead to you dying from a stroke or heart attack.
But if you were lucky enough to only get a few drops of venom in your bloodstream, you might be okay. That, is if you manage to find medical assistance relatively quickly.
In the U.S., roughly 7,000 people are bitten by a snake every year. Of those people, only five end up dying. On average, you’d have about 30 – 60 minutes to get some help.
Once you find it, the doctor will give you an antivenom treatment, and perhaps a tetanus shot. Then you could jump right back in the pool! Just make sure you don’t have any cuts on your body this time.
But maybe we shouldn’t be swimming in this stuff anyway, even if it does no harm. Perhaps it could be used for something else. Scientists are doing research to find out if snake venom can be used as medicine, such as for Alzheimer’s Disease or to reduce tumors.
So instead of playing in snake venom, or being afraid of it, we could use it for good. After all, snakes are rarely trying to hurt us, and most snake bites come from people bothering the reptiles.
But what would happen if snakes suddenly grew to be massive and all of them wanted to hurt us?
Subscribe to What-If on Youtube or follow the show on Facebook Watch.
- “Venom: The Painful Truth”. 2016. Curious. Accessed July 22 2019.
- “How Does Snake Venom Work?”. Bailey, Regina, 2019. Thoughtco. Accessed July 22 2019.
- “EXPERIMENT! How Snake Venom Kills You | Earth Unplugged”. 2019. Youtube. Accessed July 22 2019.
- “If I Suck The Venom Out Of A Snakebite, Will I Live?”. Ronca, Debra. 2008. Howstuffworks. Accessed July 22 2019.
- “Why Is Snake Venom So Deadly?”. 2019. Youtube. Accessed July 22 2019.
- “How King Cobra Maintains Its Reign”. Carroll, Sean. 2014. nytimes.com. Accessed July 22 2019.