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Snake milker Pop quiz: Would you prefer to spend your days working with a bunch of investment bankers or a bunch of venomous snakes? Of course, that’s a trick question because they are essentially the same thing. Pot shots at the bankers working at the top end of town aside, working with venomous snakes is a career possibility, with snake milking being one of the more interesting, and useful, ways to interact with snakes for a living. Snake venom is used to create anti-venom for the treatment of bite victims. Laboratories and snake farms work together to cultivate a regular supply of venom in order to supply pharmaceutical companies and public health departments with the venoms used in snake-bite treatments. As you suspected, getting the venom out of a highly poisonous, dangerous snake isn’t the easiest of tasks and is only suited to highly experienced individuals. Snake milking is a delicate process that involves getting a snake to bite a jar covered with a latex lid. That bite will release venom into the jar, which will then be frozen, stored and shipped to a lab for processing. After that it will save someone’s life so, yeah, no biggie right? Safety is a huge part of this role, as is ensuring that snakes aren’t milked too often because this creates problems with venom flow. Understanding snake behaviour is paramount, with following processes and adhering to policies around safety, hygiene and best practice snake milking being incredibly important. By now, you probably understand that this role is less about snake charming and more about cold, hard science. As such, snake milkers usually need experience working in labs. Snake handling experience and certification is the most important credential required to fulfil this role. And if you don’t

really like being in close quarters with snakes, then snake milking is obviously not your thing. Living in a country with a high amount of venomous snakes is an advantage for this profession (high fives to all the Indian, Australian, South African, Brazilian, American and sub-Saharan readers). Clearly not a role for everyone, snake milking is a career path perfect for people who love our scaly, deadly friends commonly associated with the devil and all things ominous. If you choose to dedicate yourself to snake milking, people may think you’re a weirdo, but essentially every single day you will be helping to save people’s lives and that’s a whole lot more than most people can say they accomplish in an entire lifetime. Plus, you can avoid the fate of being an investment banker (who, ironically enough, will all meet a pit of snakes once they end up in hell for the Global Financial Crisis).

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: Degrees that cover herpetology, zoology, biology and/or biochemistry are needed. Experience required: Experience handling venomous snakes and working in laboratories is essential. Training: Snake handling training must be undertaken before attempting this career. Restrictions: Snake milkers need to be certified. This isn’t a backyard operation for amateurs.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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