Dept. of Wild: Extracting Venom from Diamondback and Cobra

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Snake venom is a complex substance that varies greatly among the world’s thousands of species.

George Van Horn of Reptile World Serpentarium in St. Cloud, Fl. has been collecting venom for more than 40 years to contribute to medical science and create antivenom for snake bite treatment.

In this video we see him collect venom from a big eastern diamondback rattlesnake and a monocled cobra.

Eastern diamondbacks have hemotoxic venom that destroys tissue and cobras have neurotoxic venom that causes damage to the nervous system and if left untreated will eventually shut down organs.

Cobra encounters in Texas are not to be expected but rattlesnakes are very common in much of the state.

World renown snake expert Austin Stevens said rattlesnakes are amongst the most interesting and unique of all venomous species of snakes found on this planet.

“Certainly, for the most part, they are potentially dangerous to humans, but so are many other species. What sets rattlesnakes apart, however, is the rattle; a feature specifically designed to afford warning of their presence to any creature not considered prey. Whereas other venomous snakes might more easily be stepped on, and so entice a retaliatory defensive bite, the rattlesnake gives loud and clear warning of its presence. Very considerate, I feel,” he said

“To the best of my knowledge, it is estimated that 7-8,000 people per year receive venomous bites in the United States, from a variety of snake species, of which about five prove fatal. Most fatal bites are attributed to the eastern and western diamondback rattlesnakes. Because of its size, speed of strike, and toxic venom, the eastern diamondback is generally considered the most dangerous snake in North America.”

“The slightly smaller western diamondback, which is common in Texas, is just as lethal, however, and is more likely to stand its ground when threatened. They are also more prolific than the eastern diamondback, and thus more often encountered. Suffice it to say, no rattlesnake, large or small, should be taken for granted. At the same time, it is important to note, that left undisturbed, like all snakes, these rattlesnakes will avoid confrontation.”

The rattle of a diamondback is essentially saying “don’t tread on me”. Wise people leave them alone so they can go about their business removing rodents from the ecosystem.

To order Austin Steven’s latest book, Snakemaster: Wildlife Adventures with the World’s Most Dangerous Reptiles go to  HYPERLINK “http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com” http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com.

Chester Moore, Jr.

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