Kentucky Reptile Zoo goes viral with rattlesnake venom extraction video

Kentucky Reptile Zoo goes viral with rattlesnake venom extraction video
Kentucky Reptile Zoo houses dozens of species of snakes, including the Daboia Russelii, pictured here. (Source: Kentucky Reptile Zoo)

SKADE, Ky. (WAVE) - A social video showing venom being extracted from rattlesnakes at a Kentucky zoo has racked up millions of views and shares online.

It was posted by the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, which is based in Powell County. As of this writing, the video has received more than six million views on Facebook. It also garnered almost 19,000 shares and 16,000 reactions.

For those who may avoid the video due to a fear of snakes, it goes on for more than five minutes and shows in real-time how quick the zoo’s co-director Jim Harrison can extract the venom from multiple Western Diamondback rattlesnakes, which are said to be native to the southwestern United States and Mexico.

The zoo said it houses around 500 of the species.

A few of the 100 Western diamondback rattlesnakes ( Crotalus atrox) extracted from today. Video is normal speed.

Posted by Kentucky Reptile Zoo on Sunday, June 2, 2019

“[The] Kentucky Reptile Zoo provides venom from many species of venomous snakes that is used in medical and biological research around the world,” co-director Kristen Wiley told WKYT in Lexington. “Snake venom is used in research on cancer, pain control, blood clotting, and many other diseases and conditions that can affect people.”

The zoo, located off Exit 33 in Slade, features more than 70 species of reptiles, according to its website. Patrons are invited to tour the space and even witness a venom extraction for themselves.

The venom serves goes toward medical and pharmaceutical research, according to KRZ.
The venom serves goes toward medical and pharmaceutical research, according to KRZ. (Source: Kentucky Reptile Zoo)

KRZ said the venom serves several purposes, including anti-venom, medical and pharmaceutical research.

More information on KRZ can be found here. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer.

In addition to tours, the zoo is a non-profit focused on animal conservation and public education.

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