Experiments with the production of poison by vipers have indicated that the secretion of the poison is closely connected with the process of digestion. Dr. G. de Christini1 states that from his experiments he concludes that the poison glands of the snake take the place of the salivary glands in the higher vertebrates and are designed to free the organism from poison products. Extirpation of the glands caused death, as did also prevention of the excretion of the poison. The poison is secreted under the influence of digestive stimuli and when milk, as an example of easily digested food, was given to snakes the poison became less intense. Dr. de Christini concludes that the secretion of the poison glands has the same function as that of the kidneys, that is, to free the body from the poisonous substances in the blood, from which the venom is formed.
SNAKE VENOM A PRODUCT OF DIGESTION.. JAMA. 1904;XLIII(5):335. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02500050043010