The Difference Between a Poisonous Animal and a Venomous Animal

It is often that one will hear the phrase “Careful! That snake is poisonous!” and I am quite sure that I have said it myself a number of times. In my effort to learn more about the other inhabitants of our world, I set out to better understand the difference between a poisonous animal and that which is venomous.


Poisonous animals are that which use their toxin in a defensive way. For example, the Poison Dart Frog is a tropic-dwelling creature that contains a toxin on its skin. When another animal tries to consume the frog, the toxin is released and it is all downhill for the predator. Therefore, most snakes and spiders, which are often referred to as poisonous, are not under that umbrella.


Venomous animals play an active role in injecting their prey with the toxin they carry within. As an example, Killer bees, a hybrid of a honey bee, sting and therefore inject their toxin into whatever they decide to sting. With this knowledge, one can see that most snakes are in fact venomous and not poisonous.

The line gets blurred when it comes to plants, while they obviously cannot strike a victim, some plants do have protrusions that can inject a toxin to whatever may be unlucky enough to brush against it.

Lessons learned here

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