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Venomous mammals are animals of the class Mammalia that produce venom, which they use to kill or disable prey, or to defend from predators. In modern nature, venomous mammals are quite rare. Venom is much more common among other vertebrates; there are many more species of venomous/poisonous reptiles (e.g. snakes), amphibians (e.g. poison dart frogs), and fish (e.g. stonefish). There are no species of venomous bird; however some birds are poisonous to eat or touch, such as the pitohui, the ifrita, and the rufous shrike-thrush.
There are suggestions that venomous mammals were once more common. Canine teeth dated at 60 million years old from two extinct species, the shrew-like Bisonalveus browni and another unidentified mammal, show grooves that some palaeontologists have argued are indicative of a venomous bite. However, other scientists have questioned this conclusion given that many living nonvenomous mammals (e.g., many primates, coatis and fruit bats) also have deep grooves down the length of their canines, suggesting that this feature does not always reflect an adaptation to venom delivery.
To explain the rarity of venom delivery in Mammalia, Mark Dufton of the University of Strathclyde has suggested that modern animals do not need venom because they are smart and effective enough to kill quickly with tooth or claw; whereas venom, no matter how sophisticated, takes time to disable prey. Indeed, the venomous insectivore, the solenodon, is now being driven from its native habitats by introduced dogs, cats, and mongooses.
Listed below are mammals that are venomous or that use poisonous or noxious chemicals in some form.
Additional recommended knowledge
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Venomous_mammals". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|