What is a Snake Milker?
A snake milker is someone who extracts, or 'milks', venom from poisonous snakes in order to create antivenom used by hospitals and laboratories. If a person is bitten by a snake, it is important they be rushed to a hospital to get an antidote, which is made from the venom of a snake. Also, new medical research is showing that snake venom can be used to help in strokes and malignant tumors. A snake milker usually works at a serpentarium, where the snakes live. Snakes that are milked include cobras, mambas, vipers, asps, corals, copperheads, kraits, sea snakes and rattlesnakes. The venom is freeze-dried and used or sold to laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and universities for research and production.
What does a Snake Milker do?
A snake milker's job is to extract venom from snakes in a safe manner so that the venom can be used by researchers to create a variety of drugs. These drugs help treat blood clots, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. The venom is also used to create antivenom, which is the antidote to snake bites.
A snake milker has the very dangerous job of extracting the snake venom. They set up safety measures to ensure that if they do get bitten, the bite will not be fatal, yet it is not uncommon for seasoned milkers to have had several bites. A snake milker has several tools that allows him/her to safely pick up, hold down, and capture the snake. The snake milker will get a hold of the snake's head, sometimes with the help of an assistant, and get the snake to bite down on the edge of a glass vial. There is usually a thin rubber cap on the top of the glass vial. When the snake bites down, the rubber pulls back a thin skin on the snake’s teeth which stimulates the venom release, as if it were biting into its prey.
A lot of venom is needed for use in labs and in research - it can take thousands of 'milkings' to produce enough venom to send off to the lab. Snake milkers sometimes milk hundreds of snakes in a week. It requires a great number of snakes in order to produce the amount of venom needed to sell. A facility that produces this venom requires very knowledgeable staff, as the venom has to be specially handled, labelled and stored.
What is the workplace of a Snake Milker like?
A snake milker typically works in a lab where hundreds of snakes are housed, and some snake milkers are entrepreneurs that start their own milking lab. The job of a snake milker is very dangerous - a snake's bite and venom can be lethal if not dealt with immediately and safety procedures are put in place and must be followed in case of an emergency. This is a career that contributes to saving lives and can be very satisfying in that respect. It is definitely not a 'typical' career.
Snake Milkers are also known as:
Venom Milker Poisonous Snake Milker Snake Venom Extractor