Since so many people confuse venom and poison, I decided to do a post comparing and contrasting the two. Understand that there are only two genuinely poisonous snakes known to science, the keelback and the garter. They’re only poisonous because they retain poison released by the prey they consume!
So what is poison, anyway? It’s a substance that is absorbed through the skin or ingested. Certain species of fish, amphibians, insects, and even reptiles secrete a poisonous substance! Mount Lyell Salamanders are a pretty cool animal that you probably didn’t realize secreted a poisonous substance. I guess you could say poison is more of a defense mechanism.
Venom, on the other hand, is more of an aid for attack. It’s injected rather than ingested. Although only 20% of snakes are venomous, less than 1% is poisonous. Venom is a toxic substance that is used to immobilize prey, rather than defend itself from predators.
So, by saying snakes are poisonous, you’re implying that poisoning will occur by handling, rather than a direct bite; Saying a dart frog is venomous implies that handling will not result in injury or death unless the handler bitten. Both of these are completely wrong and could draw the fine line between life or death. I can’t stress this enough, especially when it’s so simple to remember: Venom is injected whereas poison is ingested.