Army Snake Hunters (May, 1945)

Army Snake Hunters
SOUTH AFRICAN SOLDIERS SNARE POISONOUS REPTILES FOR VENOM

ODDEST army group among Allied forces, a South African Medical Corps detachment catches venomous snakes and extracts their poison for snakebite serum. Two of South Africa’s deadliest reptiles are most sought, the puff adder for its virulent blood poison and the yellow cobra, which produces a nerve poison. Twice a month the snakes, carefully tended on a “farm” after capture, are “milked” of their venom by massaging the tops of their heads while the fangs are held over the edge of a glass. The thin, clear liquid is dried and sent to the South African Medical Institute. There selected horses are injected with successively larger doses of the two venoms to make a serum which is saving soldiers’ lives on fronts all over the word. The three men insist that if you are gentle, snakes are easy and safe to handle.

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