Friends of the RDC
|Venom Extraction Program|
The Reptile Discovery Center offers an unforgettable experience, both educational and exciting, allowing the visitor a rare view into the process of venom extraction. Venom programs are given Thursday through Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Venom extraction is the process of obtaining venom from a variety of venomous snake species by capturing and then allowing the snake to bite into a collecting receptacle in order to harvest the snake's venom. At the Reptile Discovery Center and Medtoxin Venom Laboratories a large number of snakes are handled each week for the purpose of venom collection.
The venoms collected are used in a host of research and pharmaceutical applications. Anti-venom, the medication used to treat snake bite victims, vetinary anti-venom and a dog vaccine against rattlesnake bites are all made initially using whole venom in part of the process. A wide variety of research is going on with snake venoms or certain components found in venoms, cancer research, viral research, AIDS, rabies, pain medications, diabetes, neurological and circulatory disorders, immunological and transplant research are just a few of the areas where venoms or venom components are being looked at.
The snakes are captured in a safe controlled manner in which danger to the handler and danger or stress to the snake are kept to an absolute minimum. Many of our snakes are born and raised here at the lab, and live long productive lives on the venom line.
Each day during either of our two venom programs, the public is invited to view this exciting and interesting process in a comfortable environmentally controlled setting in which both snakes and expert handlers are viewed up close through safety glass during a narrated program to keep visitors informed of the process they are watching. Venom extraction can only be seen in a few institutions around the globe. Experience this once in a lifetime event at the Reptile Discovery Center.