Snake Fangs – All About Snake Fangs You Need to Know

How many fangs do snakes have? Generally, there are roughly 3500 species of snakes amongst which 15% have fangs that are associated with the toxic venom.

Injuries from a snake bite from either species pose a health threat to people, but poisonous snakebites are severe. They have fangs which they use to inject venom into the body of the victims. The toxin in the body exposes the nervous and circulatory system into danger. Thus, emergency treatment is a must to save a life. 

Our concern topic is ‘All about snake fangs you need to know.’ To get full information, continue reading the article.  

Types of Snake Fangs

Types Of Snake Fangs
Types Of Snake Fangs

I’m writing a brief overview of all about snake fangs you need to know because snake fangs are of primary help to snakes and very interesting to learn at the same time. Snakes are anywhere in the world, except for Antarctica.

snake fangs

It is only the poisonous snakes who have fangs. Instead, non-poisonous snakes have six rows of teeth. With two rows at the bottom and four rows on the top. The latter species hunt by constricting their prey to suffocation. 

Fangs are sharp-edged, extended, hollow and grooved teeth present on the upper jaw at the front or back of the mouth of a snake. In the head and behind the eyes of poisonous snakes are venom glands that secrete venom. 

A primary duct extends from the venom gland nearly to the upper jaw. It then branches to form two secondary channels that connect to each fang. The ducts help to pass venom from the glands to the fangs, which eventually delivers the poison to the victim. 

Typically, snakes use venom for hunting their prey. In case of a bite for defense, they use less venom than they would do when hunting. It is difficult to explain why, but perhaps it is because of their instinct for hunting. 

There are three types of snake fangs available in different species of snakes. These specialized teeth can break or wear out, but another one develops. Snakes will live to produce venom. It is their weapon for hunting anyway.

The following are different categories of fangs in venomous snakes.

Opisthoglyphous

Opisthoglyphous fangs
Opisthoglyphous fangs

Opisthoglyphous fangs are located at the back of the maxillae, thus are typically called the rear-grooved fangs. This structure of teeth is present in the Colubridae members. The fangs are not hollow like in other categories; instead, they are grooved. 

Opisthoglyphous fangs are partially curved or straight and usually occur as a pair or much of larger teeth. To facilitate the biting, the snake must chew their prey first, then bring it to the fang at the back of the mouth for venom injection—the groove assists in injecting venom to the victim. 

However, fangs in Colubridae members may vary in the number, shape, and size within and among species. The majority of the Opisthoglyphous species possess Duvernoy’s gland, where the fangs connect. The venom gland appears to be different from the normal venom gland in several ways. 

The gland can only deliver the venom at a lower pressure, less than 5 psi, because they lack the muscles responsible for generating strength to expel the poison. It is also interesting to know that Opisthoglyphous will only produce venom during chewing. It is so because Duvernoy’s glands do not have a place to store the poison. 

Solenoglyphous 

Solenoglyphous snake fangs
Solenoglyphous snake fangs: source

Solenoglyphous is a fang structure exclusively in viper snakes. The fang appears to be nearly the same from the old viper fossils to the modern vipers, only minor evolution is evident. 

Solenoglyphous teeth are long and are entirely hollow. Usually, in the upper jaw, there are four bones for holding teeth in snakes, that is, premaxilla, maxilla, palatine and pterygoid. In humans, premaxilla bone bears incisors teeth and maxilla canines. On the lower jaw is a dentary that applies to snakes and humans for carrying all the lower teeth. 

Solenoglyphous fangs are only located at the maxilla of the family Viperidae snakes. These species lack the premaxilla and palatine teeth. Maxillary bone is extremely movable to allow the fangs to fold back when the mouth closes, and protract when striking. 

If you know a hypodermic needle, then it’s easy to identify a Solenoglyphous fang. They have orifice at the base to receive venom from the gland through the ducts, another hole near the tip to inject the toxin. It is capable of injecting venom deeply into their prey. 

Proteroglyphous  

types of snake fangs
types of snake fangs

Proteroglyphous fangs are straight or partially curved, have a hollow core, and a tiny opening almost at the tip and are present in elapid members. [Source]. The teeth are approximately three times smaller than the Solenoglyphous fangs in Viperidae members. 

These fangs attach to the front of the mouth in a reduced maxilla that is stationary. Therefore, these specialized teeth are immobile. The fangs allow the snakes to hold on to the prey after striking until the venom paralyses it. Some snakes will press and envenom the snake at the same time. 

Some members in this group have few teeth on their shortened maxilla, unlike in the Solenoglyphous, who lack teeth completely. A diastema usually separates the fang from the available teeth. 

Also, some species possess at least two functional fangs on the same location in the maxilla. It is contrary to the majority of the elapids and Viperidae, who have one technical and one unfunctional fang on a single maxilla. 

The death adders, mambas, and some other dangerous species, on the other hand, have a slightly mobile fang. Spitting cobras have a reformed orifice to increase the speed of venom injection. Some elapids like sea snakes have lost their fang and the venom secreting gland. 

Are Snake Fangs Teeth?

Are snake fangs teeth? The answer is yes.

Snake fangs are specialized teeth that are found in the majority of the venomous snake species. 

Source

The fangs play a unique role during hunting or perhaps in defense. They are only present on the upper jaw, either at the front or back of the mouth. The case is different, particularly in the non-poisonous snakes who have actual teeth in rows appearing in the dentary and along the maxilla bone. 

The fangs directly connect to the venom gland in most of the poisonous species, or in the Duvernoy’s gland present in very few species. Both glands secrete venom, and the fang typically delivers the toxin to the target creature. 

Fangs are common in meat-eaters, omnivores, and rarely in a few herbivores like fruit bats. Generally, they are famous for holding and killing prey. 

Fangs are sharp, hollow, or grooved and long, making them very different from the usual snake teeth. Usually, they are called exceptional teeth. Some are wholly fixed on the maxilla, while others are hinged, making them movable depending on the species. 

In snakes, fangs can wear out like regular teeth, especially during hunting, but they also develop. Indeed, fangs are amazing teeth in snakes. 

Common Snakes Fang Information

Common Snakes Fang Information
Common Snakes Fang Information

Snakes with the fang positioned at the front of the mouth are capable of striking their prey quickly than fangs at the back of the mouth. 

The groove or hollow core in different fangs plays a significant role in passing the poison through these amazing teeth to the victim. 

Biologists reveal that fangs have a history of development from the general teeth. The front and rear fangs progress from different teeth forming tissues existing at the back of the mouth. 

The situation is different in the non-venomous snakes and humans. For instance, the lower teeth evolve from a specific tooth forming tissue at the bottom, and all the upper teeth from a single tooth forming tissue. 

The frontal fangs move to the mouth’s front during embryonic development when the embryonic upper jaw is growing very fast. The rear fangs remain at the back of the mouth. 

Fangs in snakes are the canines in mammals, apart from humans whose teeth are rather small. They share a similar function in biting or tearing.

The fangs are capable of folding inside the snake’s mouth when not in operation. This way, snakes will never bite themselves. 

Immediately a snake makes a bite using their fang, the muscles in the venom gland force the toxin from its storage to the fangs back orifice via a duct, and the venom gets out through the tiny opening near the tip. 

Coral Snakes Fangs

coral snake
coral snake

Coral snakes belong to Proteroglyphous snakes, meaning that they have static front fangs. The same case applies to other species like the mambas, taipans, kraits, cobra, among others. 

Their fangs being immovable, cannot fold in the mouth. Therefore, they are small, and sometimes it is difficult to see them. 

Coral snakes use their fang to bite and hold the prey to prevent it from escaping, and in the process, inject it with venom. 

The fangs are pretty small but can inject a fatal dose of venom in just a quick bite. Because of their little body and mouth, these snakes do not need a large area to bite; they can strike anywhere. 

Coral snakes are second from black mamba snakes in delivering the most potent poison. However, their shorter fangs and a small mouth render them less dominant in supplying the poison. 

Though, coral snakes are not terrifying species. Like the majority of snakes, they will only attack you when they are under threat. If you disturb or step on them, chances of receiving their severe envenomation are very high. 

Stiletto Snake Fangs

Stiletto is a small snake, usually between 11-15 inches long, but has a potent venom that is toxic to cells and a dangerous fang.

It is capable of twisting its head when holding them with their neck and making a side bite using a single fang that projects out. Their venom can result in severe injuries. 

The stiletto snakes often visit the swimming pool and roads after raining in the evening. But they spend the majority of their lives underground. Due to their small size and a thin body, people can pick them when mistaking them with the house snakes. 

Their fangs are long, mobile, and can protrude through the side of the mouth and attack quickly by biting your finger when picking them. 

Their sharp fang causes bites that are exceedingly painful and destructive. Never attempt to pick or touch any snakes. If you don’t interfere with the snakes, chances of receiving a bite are close to zero. 

Garter Snake Fangs

Garter Snake Fangs
Garter Snake Fangs

There are around 35 famous species of garter snakes, and the majority of them have small teeth that can only be visible when you observe them strictly. Some species possess a set of transparent fangs close to the back of the mouth. 

Garter snake teeth are small from the front part of the mouth, but they get slightly longer towards the back. Their teeth also vary in shape, where there are recurved, curved and linear teeth. 

They use their fang to bite and inject venom to the prey to make them calm and also to enhance digestion. However, these snakes have a low volume of toxins just to strike their prey. 

These snakes cannot rely on their venom alone as the primary way to keep off their intruders. The method alone is not practical to them, and they have to use other tricks as well. Garter snake venom cannot harm a person. 

Do Corn Snakes Have Fangs?

Do corn snakes have fangs? Corn snakes are non-venomous, lack fangs but, instead, have very sharp and small teeth.

corn snakes don't have fangs
corn snakes don’t have fangs

They possess approximately 20-30 teeth that are angled backward to help the snake hold on to their prey easily. 

Just like many non-poisonous snake species, corn snakes have six rows of teeth- two at the bottom and four on the upper part of the mouth. 

Despite being non-poisonous, their bite can be dangerous and will require the victim to have an emergency medication. 

Corn snakes are excellent pets, and they are typically friendly to humans. They are harmless species, and will not bite anyone, unless threatened.  

What Snake Have the Longest Fang?

The venomous gaboon viper has the longest fang among all snakes, which measures up to 5cm long. 

These snakes inhabit the savannas and rainforest in sub-Saharan Africa. It is the giant snake from among all members in the genus bitis, and the densest viperid worldwide. 

These snakes have large venom glands that secrete large amounts of venom that is enough to inject up to roughly 30 persons. 

Do Non-Venomous Snakes have Fangs?

Fangs and real teeth are entirely different from each other. The fangs are the greatest hunting weapon in the poisonous snakes, and they inject venom to paralyze the prey. 

Non-venomous snakes have teeth in six rows, which helps them to grasp and slow down their prey. 

The majority of the non-venomous snakes are members of the Aglyphous group, where snakes have teeth similar in size and shape. 

Non-poisonous snakes do not produce venom. Thus, during hunting, they constrict their prey to suffocation and then swallow them whole. 

They can use their teeth to bite any person who is threatening them, and their bite needs immediate medication the same as the poisonous snakes. The only difference is that they don’t inject venom, but they cause wounds. 

How Do We Behave if Bitten by Snakes?

In the case of a snakebite, don’t panic; it’s not the end of life. Snakebite wounds respond to the treatment effectively. You just need to seek emergency medication right away. The following are several ways on how to deal with snakebites;

  • Call emergency number 911. 
  • Remain calm and avoid movements.
  • Observe the color and the markings of the snake that bite you, but never kill or try to find it. 
  • Remember the time of the attack.
  • Remove jewelry and tight clothes; they increase the swelling. 
  • If you are confident that the snake is not poisonous, you can wash the wound with clean water and soap, but ensure you see a doctor also. 
  • Carry the victim if possible. Movement may help to spread the toxin in the body if the bite is from a poisonous snake. 

Here you have it, all about snake fangs you need to know. Snake fangs may sound simple but have a lot. It is a broad term. 

Which Venomous Snake has the Strongest Venom? 

Which venomous snake has the most potent venom? To answer this question, you need to understand the difference between deadly and dangerous snakes

Dangerous snakes are capable of killing many people within a single year, while deadly snakes have the most toxic venom. 

black mamba
black mamba

The world’s dangerous snakes are the black mambas, while the most venomous snakes are the Inland taipan snake, though they are rare species and don’t live near humans. 

A single bite from Inland taipan can produce about 110mg venom that is capable of killing around 100 people. 

Although taipan snakes are docile and shy, they rarely bite. But in case they strike a person, the mortality rate is more than 80% if there is no emergency treatment. 

The venom from these snakes consists of myotoxins, hemotoxins, nephrotoxins, and neurotoxins. 

Conclusion 

Now, all about snake fangs you need to know is right here, and it is clear that fangs are present in the majority of the venomous snakes. Poisonous snakes tend to cause dangerous bites because of venom injection through their specialized fangs. 

It is possible to avoid snakebites from either species if we stay cool with the snakes. Snakebites are dangerous, but they are highly treatable.

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