A New Method for Stripping Venomous Snakes

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  • Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Panama, Republica de Panama

The usual method of evacuating the venom glands of poisonous snakes—viz., manual manipulation, is in a great many cases accompanied by traumatic injury of sufficient severity to interfere with subsequent functioning of these structures. This results, shortly, in a decrease in venom production and a product of inferior quality. Experience has shown that by employing electrical stimuli in place of manual manipulation, the venom can be obtained without injury to the glands and without affecting materially its synthesis or quality. The procedure as carried out in this laboratory is simple and safe and the necessary apparatus is inexpensive.

The apparatus consists of an induction coil which can be regulated to deliver from five to ten volts. The type used in this laboratory is one of very simple construction with a stationary secondary coil and a fixed soft-iron wire core.