Substance found in fruits and vegetables delays the effect of a pit viper bite

A modified version of a substance found in fruits and vegetables, the water-soluble compound succinyl rutin, can delay the effects of a bite from the Bothrops jararaca (pit viper, common in South America). This species of snake is responsible for most of Brazil’s 26,000 snake attacks. This species is highly venomous and endemic to South America in southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina.

Bothrops jararaca
Bothrops jararaca. A species of pit viper which causes the most snake bites in Brazil. The credit for the photograph is embossed into the photograph

Ironically, drugs used for the treatment of hypertension and some types of congestive heart failure were developed from a peptide found in the venom of this species of snake.

The snake grows to a maximum total length of 63 inches and is a terrestrial species. It usually hunts at night and takes refuge in foliage during the day. It is most active during the warmer months. They are ambush predators and well camouflaged. Juveniles move the tip of their tail which looks like an insect larva to attract prey animals to kill and consume. They mainly inhabit dense tropical perennial forests on the Atlantic coast about 1000 m above sea level. They live in thickets and semitropical highland forests and even cultivated fields. Juveniles can also be arboreal (live in trees).

“Rutin” is a plant pigment found in certain fruits and vegetables. It has been used as an antioxidant to treat osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions. That information is probably unhelpful because the compound referred to above to treat this snakebite is different as I understand it.

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Post Category: Snakes