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Comics, TV/Film

Are Walker Bites Venomous?

I could talk about zombies all day. In fact, thanks my job, I pretty much do. It seems as though I’m not the only person who thinks about zombies a lot either, as Kyle Hill has written a piece for Discover Magazine asking if the walkers in The Walking Dead might actual be venomous. Now, before you dismiss it outright, I think it’s worth a read, as it’s not the typical snake-type venom you might be conjuring in your head when reading that. It’s more of a bacterial and viral load that would live in a corpse’s mouth, which is probably pretty close to the thinking of the traditional Romero zombie.

Go check it out and then let us know your thoughts on the science of The Walking Dead walkers. Why DO you die when you get bit if you’re already infected?

  1. James February 25, 2014 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    I’ve always thought about the fact that there is a huge difference between zombies (in particular fresh and not so fresh zombies) that, I blindly say, no zombie story has covered in strong detail. For example, a fresh corpse’s head would not be easy to step on and squish (as TWD makes it seem) as it wouldn’t have decayed all that much and I’ve also had the thought of why older zombies don’t eat the fresh reanimated corpses. I mean meat is meat and I would get them not eating older zombies (rotten meat) but it’s a moving fresh meat factory so why don’t they attack each other? Anyway, very interesting article.

    • Bastet February 26, 2014 at 6:01 am - Reply

      At first I was thinking that they had a sense about them, similar to what was portrayed in the movie “World War Z”. But then I figured it had something to do with the smell, because of what Rick & Glenn did months ago & Michonne with her pets. Death, whether it be fresh or not, must have a certain smell. We may never know and I’m fine with that.

  2. Antonio Hernandez February 25, 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    it really is something to think about. the reason why is that in twd, dr jenner says that they are all already infected. they carry the virus that turns you into a walker. then we bring up the fact that when you get bit, you die or turn? something is missing between point a and point b. right? so why would herschel getting bitten, cause him to turn? it was not life threatening, so if we tie this in with the flu, then he should have just gotten sick if antibiotics were not administered right? now going into what james has said, the body of the corpse is not functioning. so a human body would decompose at a normal rate. this means that if the walker was 2 to 3 weeks old, the head would be easy to crush, stomp or stab. its the muscles that make the bones resilient. now with that, the laws wouldnt let the powers that be go on with what we see in the show anyway. after over a year of rotting, we wouldnt see that many walkers anyway? most would be on the ground just sliding and dragging along? what about flys and maggots? we see some here and there, but shouldnt they be just teeming with them? now for the last part, the biting. if a walker is over a year old, how can it provide enough pressure to be able to bite without losing all of its teeth, and how would they be able to physically be able to tear open a man’s chest such as dales without being able to exercise and maintain strength after death? we all know the answer- this is fantasy, and well done at that.

    • Medievaldragon February 26, 2014 at 10:04 am - Reply

      There are a few hints in The Walking Game video game. For example,
      Lee was bitten by a zombie, but he got his arm cut at the morgue, and
      that seemed to slow down the dying process.

      However, if
      you keep close attention to Season 2 Episode 1 — one of the guys in
      the woods says he knows of someone who cut his arm and is still alive.
      So that makes you think … maybe Lee could have survived if you chose
      not to kill him.

      On the other hand, he likely lost too
      much blood, but in theory he should have survived the bite if his arm
      was cut quick enough and the infection didn’t spread throughout his

      If you choose to save the old guy in the Episode
      2, he cuts his leg after he gets bitten. Would be interesting to see if
      he survives the bite too.

      • Ethan Tompkins February 26, 2014 at 10:30 pm - Reply

        Uhm… You can choose not to have Lee amputated, and literally nothing’s different.

        • Medievaldragon February 27, 2014 at 3:39 am - Reply

          Spent a whole lot of hours playing The Walking Dead Season 1 again last night just to find out if my theory was accurate. Both times I played before I had opted to shoot Lee.

          However, I just finished Season 1, and opted this time not to shoot Lee. Clementine left the Jewelry store without shooting him. Lee lost consciousness as she opened the door to leave. He is not shown to have turned into a Walker.

          There is a really good chance that he didn’t die. He might have just passed out.

          Hopefully, Molly finds him, and breaks the handcuffs. Takes care of him.

          With that ending, I am pretty sure TellTale might bring Lee back at some point in the future.

          What Pete said about his cousin in Ainsworth — means someone who cuts off the bitten limb can survive.

          So I’m going with that.

          I haven’t read the comics, so I don’t know if he actually got shot in the canon, or if he turned into a Walker. So I am just going with what I experienced in the game.

          Lee might be alive if Molly or someone else finds him.

          • Ballfart February 27, 2014 at 5:37 am

            Lee definately turns into a walker if you choose not to kill him. His eyes are changing and everything at that point. It is made pretty clear that he is done for. You just make the choice to spare Clem from having to kill the one person she has left and sacrafice yourself to become a walker, or make her have shooting the one person she has left embedded in her mind forever.

          • Medievaldragon February 28, 2014 at 8:30 am

            The eyes thing doesn’t really tell me much. I wouldn’t disregard Pete’s revelation that easily. TellTale could have shown Lee’s turning onscreen after Clementine left — but decided not to.

            If there is no turning into a walker onscreen — then I deem that as a loose end and an open window for the writer to decide whether to bring Lee back into the story as surviving the bite.

            If anything, I have noticed the writer introduces small revelations from time to time.

            Something we really need to look forward to is whether Pete will survive the bite. If you choose to save Pete after you saw him getting bitten in the ankle — you will see in the Season 2: episode 2 sneak peek preview that Pete is cutting his foot — exactly as he said his own cousin did — because he knows his cousin survived by amputating his bitten limb.

            No onscreen turning — I’m sorry, I’ll be skeptic and optimistically hopeful.

  3. Bastet February 26, 2014 at 4:16 am - Reply

    I love (NOT!) these scientific articles that try to debunk the rationale behind something that is purely fictional. If we can give an explanation for zombies, putting all the pieces together and making them fit without question, then couldn’t that make it possible for zombies to actually exist? Even in The Walking Dead, we don’t know the cause, the exact science behind it, or if there’s some type of cure. Science in real life, as we know it, is constantly changing. People (who are these people) totally miss the idea of the show, and because they’re trying to work with the fantasy part of it, give the show an undeserving bad rep!

    The venom part was interesting but the article had a negative feel to it.

    • thewalkingdeadfanatic2 March 7, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

      exactly. People try to disprove sci fi, and tradition, and thats dumb. look, we know that some of this isnt possible. I mean, i just read this article trying to disprove phil, the weather guessing groundhog, but its like, seriously?! we know its not true, its tradition.

      and i dont think the walking dead would be so fantasticarl (I had to do it) if the zombie apocolyps was actually happinging.


  4. thewalkingdeadfanatic2 February 26, 2014 at 7:01 am - Reply

    You do have the disease inside you. But once your bitten, the bacteria from the walkers mouth mingles with the disease inside you, and gives you a fever. Most think that walkers give you the disease, but they actually just spread a germ that kills you. It’s the dying that makes you turn. Not the walkers. It’s like if someone sneezed on you on a bus, and gave you a cold……except that cold is..I dunno, Ebola.

    • Bastet February 26, 2014 at 7:15 am - Reply

      I think of it kinda like cancer…did you know we all have cancer cells? Something happens to throw a monkey wrench in things to make it go haywire.

    • Ballfart February 26, 2014 at 8:13 am - Reply

      Exactly…I was not impressed with the article and stopped reading a little over half way through. I always thought it was pretty clear in The Walking Dead’s storyline that it is not the bite, but rather the infection from a dirty mouthed walker biting you. Some people have stronger immune systems than others as well; which is why some people last longer than others after being bitten or scratched because their body is working more efficiently to fight off the infection.

      • thewalkingdeadfanatic2 February 26, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

        yeah, because if…i dunno, judith was bitten, she wouldnt last long at all. but it seems that our dearly departed old man wouldve held up rather well to a bite. he didnt get the flu thingy…

        DUN Dun DUUUU Hershel was a….what monster cant get sick…..

      • Ethan Tompkins February 26, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

        But the thing about the dirty mouth theory… Think about all the people that turn, and then get someone right away. This just happened with Holly, she wasn’t dead for very long and the shit in her mouth was enough to kill Denise.

        • Ballfart February 27, 2014 at 5:31 am - Reply

          Right, I get that, but we also don’t know how long Holly was actually dead before Negan dropped her off. If everyone is infected we have a dormant virus just sitting in us. If you are bitten by a fresh or old walker they are putting the active virus in your system via “dirty mouth” because they are comtaminating you with their bite or scratch that is holding the active virus. Plus,
          **SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN’T READ 122**,
          Negan mentions “One bite, one scatch from them, and the fever sets in” as he is covering Lucille in walker gunk hinting to me that the active virus they just injected you with causes your dormant virus to wake up and start its course to spread through you until it takes over. I know nothing of medical shit though so I am basically bullshitting everything and giving my interpretation of the plague. I guess I try not to think about it to much since we don’t have real world scenarios to look at. This will be something that will never be answered, and is left to our take on it.

    • thewalkingdeadfanatic2 March 2, 2014 at 6:10 am - Reply

      haha i have the zombie disease……oh wait, its just the flu….

  5. Chris Bigger February 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Vitamin c and protein shakes are the cure…There I said it now everyone knows ….sorry Eugene

  6. Matthew Heasley February 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    There are ants in rainforests in South America that turn into zombies through a fungus that grows. It takes over the ants body and makes the ant kill itself and then it shoots out more fungus to infect other ants. Check it out. If it could happen to one life form on this planet what’s to say it couldn’t happen to another.

  7. Caleb Collins March 5, 2014 at 12:13 am - Reply

    The virus is airborne the cause of infection is death. That’s why when rick killed shane he got tf back up.

  8. Kevin Garcia March 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    to me it not that they or poisonous is that they carries bacteria and with out any advance medication the infected will be come sick and die.. the zombie virus only spread when the victim has died to me the virus is dormant.. and to what “thewalkingdeadfanatic2”- said u get sick from the bite what if the bacteria in its mouth is the virus but awaken when bite the victim it accelerate the dormant virus in side the infected to awaken.. this what i think.. kinda smoke a little joint tell me if it does not make since corrent or add anything u think

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