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新概念第四册Lesson 20 Snake poison

2021-07-12 16:06:00来源:网络

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  Lesson 20

  Snake poison

  蛇毒

  What are the two different ways in which snake poison acts?

  How it came about that snakes manufactured poison is a mystery. Over the

  periods their saliva, a mild, digestive juice like our own, was converted into a

  poison that defies analysis even today. It was not forced upon them by the

  survival competition; they could have caught and lived on prey without using

  poison, just as the thousands of non-poisonous snakes still do. Poison to a

  snake is merely a luxury; it enables it to get its food with very little effort,

  no more effort than one bite. And why only snakes? Cats, for instance, would be

  greatly helped; no running fights with large, fierce rats or tussles with grown

  rabbits -- just a bite and no more effort needed. In fact, it would be an

  assistance to all carnivores though it would be a two-edged weapon when they

  fought each other. But, of the vertebrates, unpredictable Nature selected only

  snakes (and one lizard). One wonders also why Nature, with some snakes,

  concocted poison of such extreme potency.

  In the conversion of saliva into poison, one might suppose that a fixed

  process took place. It did not; some snakes manufacture a poison different in

  every respect from that of others, as different as arsenic is from strychnine,

  and having different effects. One poison acts on the nerves, the other on the

  blood.

  The makers of the nerve poison include the mambas and the cobras and their

  venom is called neurotoxic. Vipers (adders) and rattlesnakes manufacture the

  blood poison, which is known as haemolytic. Both poisons are unpleasant, but by

  far the more unpleasant is the blood poison. It is said that the nerve poison is

  the more primitive of the two, that the blood poison is, so to speak, a newer

  product from an improved formula. Be that as it may, the nerve poison does its

  business with man far more quickly than the blood poison. This, however, means

  nothing. Snakes did not acquire their poison for use against man but for use

  against prey such as rats and mice, and the effects on these of viperine poison

  is almost immediate.

  JOHN CROMPTON The snake

  New words and expressions 生词与短语

  saliva

  n. 唾液

  digestive

  adj. 助消化的

  defy

  v. 使不可能

  analysis

  n. 分析

  prey

  n. 被捕食的动物

  fierce

  adj. 凶猛的

  tussle

  n. 扭打

  carnivore

  n. 食肉动物

  vertebrate

  n. 脊椎动物

  lizard

  n. 蜥蜴

  concoct

  v. 调制

  potency

  n. 效力

  conversion

  n. 转变

  arsenic

  n. 砒霜

  strychnine

  n. 马钱子碱

  mamba

  n. 树眼镜蛇

  cobra

  n. 眼镜蛇

  venom

  n. 毒液

  neurotoxic

  adj. 毒害神经的

  viper

  n. 蝰蛇

  adder

  n. 蝮蛇

  rattlesnake

  n. 响尾蛇

  haemolytic

  adj. 溶血性的

  viperine

  adj. 毒蛇

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