Venomous snakes are Beautiful, dangerous and hold
untapped mysterious benefits.
The importance of snake Venom is yet to be completely
revealed, however vigorously studies are conducted throughout the world in many
Venom is an amazing structure of compound ,having many different chemicals and components that aid and assist these fragile animals in life.
I say Fragile; Because Snakes possess no arms or legs and can be killed very easily.
Their Bones are very thin and extremely breakable. A snake can possess between
100 to 400 rib bones running the entire length of their body.
Their necks can be broken with a simple snap
or shake. This is naturally demonstrated by hawks and other predatory behavior of
other animals who seek their nutritious meat.
A Simple wound can become a life threating infection,
Vile enough to destroy the animal.
Even human intervention can be deadly. The simple act of translocation, meaning “to
remove the Animal from its home environment to another wild location for release”
will result in a death of any snake species.
Says Richard Kirk , nongame endangered species
coordinator , for the state of Tennessee , TWRA Region 2
Snakes and Many other animals, Both land
and water, use different types of techniques to survive.
If we look at the contrast between the stealthily, heavy bodied, Timber rattlesnake
and the speed of the sleek black Racer. Both animals have two very different
ways to find food ,Yet both are successful and survive
God created these reptilian masters for survival
and respond to most of its challenges. It surely demonstrations the Snakes capability
to succeed no matter their method.
In Tennessee ,we are home to 4 Venomous
Snakes. The Cottonmouth, The Timber Rattlesnake , The Pigmy Rattlesnake and The
Copperhead ,both southern and Northern species . These are all Heavy hitters. The
Copperhead having the least destructive
Some Other Snakes Have Mild venom that is not generally recognized, because it only
effects their prey .
These Snakes are not venomous to humans. Some examples of mildly venomous snakes are the Hognose, Garter and Ringneck
The Benefits of Venom and Its closely guarded
secrets are slowly being revealed and brought to the surface. There are Currently
about a dozen or more diagnostic tests and drugs derived from snake venom and
More research is being done every day.
Scientific studies are even finding, that certain
compounds of venom will prevent Cancer cell growth.
The possibilities are endless.
Although there are many great herpetological
studies being conducted in the world today, however notably, Not many people
could hold a candle to the studies and contributions Bill Haast of Florida
Bill Haast ,died June 15 2011 at age 100 of
natural causes in Punta Gorda Fl.
Although having No formal education, Bill
proved, true passion can drive experience,
develop expertise and be a benefit to many.
Born In Patterson New Jersey, 1910, Bill learned
of his love for serpents after capturing his First garter at age 7.
He really found interest on a boy scout trip
in at age 11.
A year later, after going on another summer
outing , Bill attempted to capture a young timber rattlesnake and was bitten seriously
for the first time. Utilizing a Snake bite kit and then making his way back 4
miles to Camp, a very swollen boy was rushed to the nearest doctor and quickly recovered
without further treatment.
His Next bite would come that same year by
a 4 foot copperhead.
along a Bite kit, Bill had a friend inject him with antivenom and ending up spending
the next week recovering from that bite in the hospital.
Although many oppositions from his mother,
he finally began collecting snakes in his home at age 15. During that time ,he
become so comfortable handling one of his timber Rattlesnakes, that he was able
to be photographed, positioning the Snake across his lap for the portrait.
Bill’s passion was completely centered in
his reptilian world. Never really enjoying school, he quit his formal education
at age 16, and Later began working with a roadside reptile exhibit and followed
this work on to Florida.
There in the Everglades, Bill was able to
perfect his capturing skills and drive his passion home.
After bouncing back and forth from Florida
to New Jersey, and marring his first wife Ann, Bill ended up becoming a certified
flight Engineer and moving back to Miami .
That employment gave him the ability to travel
and the opportunity to see other snakes from other lands.
In traveling, Bill utilized his engineering
toolbox to smuggle many different snakes including his first Cobra .
In 1946, Bill finally had enough money to
start his snake farm. Purchasing a Plot of land in Miami and selling his home,
Bill began construction of his longtime dream Serpentarium.
His Wife Ann , Under stress with the whole idea of living with snakes, divorced
him during the construction. Bill retained Custody of his son and continued his
In 1947 the Serpentarium
opened its Doors, and by 1965 he had 500 snakes, 400 cages and 3 pits.
Bill worked with
over 60 venomous snakes, extracting venom 70 to 100 times a day in the company
of a paying audience of children and adults .
opening the Serpentarium , Bill began an experimental practice called
This is the
practice of injecting or introducing poisons or compounds in small amounts to
build an immunity and tolerance to that poison or compound.
In The 1950s ,bill
was bitten by at least 20 cobras.
In 1954 Bill was bitten by a Blue Krait . This extremely venoms bite, sent
him in the hospital. Krait Antivenom
from India was flown in 48 hours to his bedside , Bill refused its use and was
released 3 days later.
Because of The immunity
Bill was able to build, He Donated his blood on 21 occasions , saving 21 lives
, when antivenom when was not available for
Having an attraction ,located at his gift shop,
containing 400 pound Turtles , 20 foot long pythons and a crocodile Named Cookie.
Tragically , A 6 year old Boy Fell into the crocodile Trap, Killing the boy in
Bill was so distraught,
He took a Pistol to the pit and Killed the crocodile the next day .
In 1995 Bill Closed The Serpentarium.
Throughout his life, bills Passion gave Smiles to young children, shared wonder to his audience
of all ages, Gave life to snake bite Victims and Helped in The Development of
Life saving medication for polio, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease,
arthritis and many other medications in the making.
Bill Once said, One Day People will see the powers in Venom and its life giving properties.
“I may live to be a 100” After being bit over 172 times in his lifetime
and injecting himself weekly with a cocktail
of venoms from cobras, cottonmouths,
kraits, mambas and rattlers .
He not only was an incredible man of passion but he also contributed lifesaving scientific data
for years to come. So before you go out and kill your next snake. Remember that
Snakes were provided venom to save their lives for survival and if we are patient
they can save ours too.
Written By Kathleen Chute