How One Kentucky Reptile Zoo Utilizes Snake Venom to Help Medical Research
Science is truly fascinating.
The Kentucky Reptile Zoo
Located in Slade, Kentucky sits a unique zoo because it's full of reptiles. The Kentucky Reptile Zoo is open to the public and in the summertime, you can visit the zoo daily from 11A - 5P, but the really unique part of this specific reptile zoo is you can watch venom extraction in person. This is something I've only seen in videos! According to the Kentucky Reptile Zoo's website, each day at 1 PM you can watch Director Jim Harrison extract venom from snakes.
Why Extract Snake Venom?
This is where things get very interesting. The Kentucky Reptile Zoo actually extracts venom from their snakes for it to be utilized in medical research all over the world. This is absolutely fascinating, I had no idea that snake venom could be so useful to medicine. The National Library of Medicine has a study you can read all about snake venom in medical research, but I found this part particularly interesting:
For instance, Captopril® (Enalapril), Integrilin® (Eptifibatide) and Aggrastat® (Tirofiban) are drugs based on snake venoms, which have been approved by the FDA. In addition to these approved drugs, many other snake venom components are now involved in preclinical or clinical trials for a variety of therapeutic applications. These examples show that snake venoms can be a valuable source of new principle components in drug discovery.
You can check the venom section of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo's website to learn about different ways their snake venom has helped the research for different diseases.
60-Second Documentary on Kentucky Reptile Zoo
I have to give credit where credit is due, and I first heard about the Kentucky Reptile Zoo through a video posted by 60 Second Docs. As their name would suggest, they specialize in minute-long documentaries. You can see their documentary on the Kentucky Reptile Farm below.