Discussion in 'Venomous Snakes' started by dogking, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. dogking

    dogking HOTM Winner September

    Although I wil never get a venomous snake, I have always wondered how people got anti-venom for their home. Is it possible to just buy some from a AV bank or do you have to go through a special process? Is it easier to get AV for a more common snake than a snake that is not often kept? Any info would be great.
  2. KLiK

    KLiK Member

    It is a sad truth that it is easier to get any type of drug anyone could want than it is to get antivenom in the United States. In order to get antivenom not only do you need a few (expensive) permits, but once you get the antivenom it has a short shelf life (it expires fast) and is expensive. Exotic antivenom is much more expensive that domestic is. For example to cover the cost of a shovel nose cobra bite it can cost upwards of $42,000 (I know from a close friend of mine who was bit by his). I own venomous snakes and have for years now, I even bred a few and plan on breeding more and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about the emotional, physical, and financial damage that will occur if I was to get bit by one of mine. There is a saying us "hot" keepers say to all the keepers who feel like they will never get bit by a venomous snake they own, "It's not a matter of if you'll get bitten, it's when you get bit." It's a sad saying but it's the truth. I keep venomous snakes for the love of the animals and my own fascination of how they evolved such efficient means to kill.

    Sorry I went off on bit of a rant but hope that helps.
  3. StikyPaws312

    StikyPaws312 Moderator Staff Member

    .. With that said... do you have anti-venom on stock or live by a hospital that does? I wonder if there's a way to let a specific local hospital know what you have (snake wise) on hand and if they would keep a stock of anti-venom specifically because whatever type of snake IS in the area... I would assume since most hospitals are state run they should be able to get huge tax breaks and price breaks because they're a medical state-owned facility....

    A little off topic but just out of curiosity I wonder what would happen (legally) if a snake or other animal that could seriously harm or kill someone got out of their owners possession... Like when I was a freshman in college a gorilla got out of the Franklin Park Zoo up in Boston, if he had done something to harm a person who would be held responsible? I wonder if you have enough safety checks and whatnot that the state or whomever wouldn't be able to come after you if you comply with whatever standards the state/feds have set for keeping whatever animal you're keeping.

    Sorry, little off topic, just my random mind wandering, lol.
  4. Shanna66

    Shanna66 Well-Known Member

    im really happy to hear that, i mean it is sad but im happy to learn it now while im still deciding wether or not to get into keeping hots.
  5. dogking

    dogking HOTM Winner September

    Thanks for all the help! I knew that if I didn't find out that it's what I would be thinking about 24/7 until I did! I have heard about that saying, and I think it is a good thing to keep in mind when handling venomous reptiles. Almost all of the shows you see on TV say that it is stupid to keep venomous, and that it is just a problem waiting to happen, but I have noticed that every time a person has gotten bitten or killed they were doing something stupid or careless. I think that as long as you take the right precautions, you will have a slim chance of being bitten. Thanks for the help guys!
  6. jeffg46

    jeffg46 New Member

    I don't keep hots, but to put the cost of treatment into perspective, my 10 yr old son was bit by a copperhead this summer. It was hiding under a log in a dog park we frequent, and he just moved the log. Anyway, the hospital bill was $44,000. That included a $33,000 pharmacy bill - 5 doses of anti venom and morphine. Thank goodness for insurance.

    Do what you like as far as keeping them, but make sure you have a health insurance policy that covers you if you do and access to a facility that can treat you properly.

  7. KLiK

    KLiK Member

    I do not own anti venom but I do live by a hospital that has anti venom for all the hots I own with the exception of 1 species. If it is illegal to own hots in your area then you will be charged with endangering public welfare as well as harboring illegal wildlife. They will confiscate the animals and most likely they will be euthanized. If you want to know which hospital carries anti venom call your local zoo and ask which hospital they have prepared in case one of their staff members get bit.
  8. Shanna66

    Shanna66 Well-Known Member

    all hospitals dont carry antivenom?
  9. KLiK

    KLiK Member

    No, it is too costly and most doctors are not properly trained to administer it. Most the antivenom for an immediate bite will come from a zoo and even then they only stock antivenom for the species they have. For example recently a man in New Jersey was bitten by his monocle cobra and they brought him all the way to Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, New York because they are trained to deal with snake bites in case anyone from the Bronx Zoo gets bitten. In the US, Venom One from Miami, Florida is pretty much the people in charge of getting antivenom to hospitals in case someone gets bit. They have the largest stock of antivenom in the US because almost all exotic animal imports pass through Miami before they go anywhere else. If you have anymore questions about owning hots or antivenom feel free to continue posting here or to email me at
  10. dogking

    dogking HOTM Winner September

    It's good to know i'm near the biggest AV bank in the U.S.! I will have to remember that if I ever get a venomous. Thanks for the info!
  11. Shanna66

    Shanna66 Well-Known Member

    my fiance wanted me to ask if there was some way to make antivenom from your own home, because thats what interests him the most about owning venomous snakes. my reasons are a much more selfish "because its pretty"
  12. KLiK

    KLiK Member

    To make antivenom you inject a small amount of venom into either a horse or a sheep and wait up to about a week, then you draw some blood from the "host" animal, after that you extract the antibodies and plasma from the blood (which requires a labratory and EXPENSIVE equipment), from there you have to sterilize the serum without killing the proteins in it that render the venom in other words no there is no way to make it at home and that is why only 4 places in the US have both the equipment and permits to process and manufacture antivenom. I looked into it as well when I first thought about owning venomous snakes. Also it is extremely dangerous to milk venomous snakes and even the experts who do it on a daily basis get bit
  13. Shanna66

    Shanna66 Well-Known Member

    ill be sure to tell him, thanks.
  14. yokfa2004

    yokfa2004 Embryo

    As i was looking before i found this one I hope to help someone.
    You can buy it on the official antivenom website (red cross)
    No difficult process as other places...
    But if you know a shop with more species please tell me also.

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