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I have a species of creature that is mostly amphibian in nature, though its size is probably more comparable to an Indian elephant. Their skin, like a poison dart frog or other similar amphibians, is toxic, most likely some form of neurotoxin. This would likely be to ward off larger predators like dragons or various mammoth species on that world.

If a human were to put their entire hand flat onto the creature's skin, for about a second, how much toxin would the person absorb? How much more severe would the effects be compared to something small like a frog? Would it even change? Also, would the creature's size have any effect on how much toxin is produced or how it is spread across the skin?

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  • $\begingroup$ The title and body questions do not match. How much an animal can produce is unrelated to how much would be absorbed by a hand in a second. $\endgroup$
    – User65535
    May 18 at 6:35

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A lot. You want an upper end? Look up hagfish slime. It's something the hagfish oozes when it gets stressed. Scientific studies have been formed around how a single creature could possibly put out that much slime.

There are numerous ways you could make the slime toxic. The only limitation is that the creature has to be really, really immune to it. Most animals that create poison keep it in a small sack. Having it in the equivalent of sweat glands would require a completely different mechanism.

And yet poison dart frogs manage to do it, so it has to be possible.

Really, though, look up hagfish slime. It's amazing.

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    $\begingroup$ Hagfish slime relies on the protein strands trapping water to create the large volumes of slime, so the large volume could be created in water but not out of it. $\endgroup$ May 18 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ @RayHammond A frog-like amphibian creature would probably be found in or near water most of the time though, so that's not a deal-breaker. $\endgroup$ May 18 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman True but the mammoth or dragon would need to be in relatively deep water for it to take full effect, once the frog is pulled out of the water or on land that slime method cannot be used. $\endgroup$ May 18 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't have to fill volumes around them. It just has to fill the mouth of whatever bites them, or slime their paws. They could keep a reserve of water, like camels, or just have hair-trigger sweat glands and keep extra water in their blood. The slime is just a delivery mechanism. $\endgroup$ May 20 at 4:30
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The amount of a substance going through a surface depends on the specific interaction between the substance and the surface, and on the extension of the surface.

If the contact area is a hand, it doesn't really matter if the hand is touching something the size of a dog, a horse, a whale or whatever else, as long as the hand is the smaller surface of the two since that's the limiting factor.

Different story if the hand is moving on the surface, because it will sweep a larger area.

Then, how much of the substance is absorbed depends on the property of the substance and how it interacts with the skin of the hand: if the molecule is lipid soluble it can pass more easily through the skin, if instead it is water soluble it will need to get in touch with some mucosa or wet surface (eye, mouth, open wound) to be better absorbed.

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