Is it true that most of the world’s poisonous animals live in warm climates? And is “poisonous” even the right word to use?

No and no, but why is this?

The outdoor world is bursting with some amazing wonders, but we can only discover them if we screw up the courage to turn over a few rocks and look into the creepy places!

So take a deep breath, because today on EWC we’re diving deep into Mother Nature’s remarkable design book to discover how venomous creatures ended up with the tools that they have, and why there seems to be a pattern to their locations.

Image: One of the nost famous poisonous animals: the blue poison dart frog

Poison Dart Frog
Source: Wikipedia

Let’s begin with some common mythology…

Australia is home to a diverse spectrum of death-dealing creatures, from lethal backyard spiders, to snakes, and even fish. Even the platypus has a spike on its ankle that can kill a dog! So Australia, with its warm waters and sunshine, has got to be the epicenter of poisonous animals right?

Well not exactly. Have you ever considered the role that continental drift played in the distribution of animals?

Let’s turn to EWC’s favorite channels, Veritasium, for more information on this fascinating topic. (If you count up the number of ah-ha moments to be had here, it’s a gem!)

Hmmm. A lot to take in there!

I’ve always just assumed that poisonous animals were the same as venomous, but it turns out, there’s a fascinating difference.

And I never really considered that we are only a mere 15,000 years from the last Ice Age when an ice sheet kilometers thick covered much of our planet. This is exactly the sort of thing that would wipe out all the ectotherms (cold-blooded animals that have to get their body heat from their surroundings).

7 minutes

Continental Collision Course

Not many of us stop to think about what the world looked like before our continents separated and then re-connected in a new way many years ago. Why does it still matter? Fascinating food for thought here today! Take a look...

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If you have little to fear about who you’ll find when rummaging through a long-abandoned shed, it may be that once there would have a frozen mass between you and a blue sky.

Find your home-base now on the following map:

Image: Map of the earth covered with an ice sheet that wiped out many poisonous animals

Source: R.D. Nickel

No snakes in Ireland? No surprise there. It was scoured clean by glaciers and no really nasty characters have found there way back there.

And then there is the wonder in just contemplating some of nature’s serendipity: The only group of animals with backbones that are allergic to the funnel web spider’s venom are the primates (lemurs, monkeys, gorillas and us!). How did that work out?

Leave room for unusual facts and unanswered questions folks. That may be a key to happiness!

Stay open, curious, and optimistic.

~ Dr. Lynda

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Notes:

  1. “Why Do Venomous Animals Live In Warm Climates?” YouTube. Veritasium, 06 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myh94hpFmJY>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.