The Australian Reptile Park is renowned for its incredibly dangerous and deadly venom program, in which keepers take on the dangerous task of milking venomous snakes to save thousands of lives across the country. Venom Supervisor, Zac Bower was extremely surprised to have found Whiplash the Coastal Taipan has outdone himself again, breaking his own world record for extracting the most raw venom from a single yield!
The previous amount recorded was 4.5 grams – well above the average yield of 1.8 grams per milking. However, Whiplash produced a MASSIVE 4.9 grams thus beating his own previous record! This amount of venom has the potential to kill up to 3,000 human adults. The Australian Reptile Park remains the ONLY facility in Australia to milk venom from terrestrial snakes to make into antivenom.
Zac Bower, Venom Supervisor said, “I knew immediately the vial of venom felt much heavier than usual. A small, excited part of me thought we might have broken the record slightly, but not to the extent that we did!”
Zac continued, “I would like to say I’m shocked Whiplash has managed to break his record again, but he has broken his own record about three times now and he just keeps giving more and more venom. He is the most amazing snake I’ve ever worked with and keeps me on my toes! But it’s worth it knowing he is saving so many lives!”
The Australian Reptile Park’s venom program extracts venom from five groups of Australia’s deadliest snakes including Taipans, Brown Snakes, Tiger Snakes, Death Adders and Black Snakes. Every year there are 2,000 reported snake bites in Australia, with over 300 receiving antivenom and having their lives saved by the program. Once the venom has been milked at the Australian Reptile Park, the raw venom is then sent to Seqirus in Melbourne where the venom is made into antivenom and distributed throughout Australia.
The Australian Reptile Park is also warning Australians about the likelihood of venomous snakes being out and about due to the wet, humid weather experienced over the Summer. Staff are urging Australians to revise snake bite first aid to assist in surviving a bite from a venomous snake. First aid for snake bites include keeping the bite victim calm and immobile, removing all jewellery/ watches, applying a pressure-immobilisation bandage to the bite site, then bandaging the entire limb not just the bite area) and seeking emergency medical assistance immediately by calling an ambulance or going directly to hospital.
Visitors can see Coastal Taipan’s alongside many other venomous snakes at the Australian Reptile Park in its famous Lost World of Reptiles exhibit. For those who want an up close look at the snake milking process, they can join a daily Behind the Scenes tour where they can witness the important work the keepers undertake first hand.