Ky. Reptile Zoo making medical hiss-tory

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 4:16 PM EDT
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POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Reptile Zoo is home to over 100 different kinds of snakes, and just recently, they were able to breed the Jararaca snake at the facility from Brazil.

“Brazil, understandably, really wants to protect their natural resources and they really do not export animals on a regular basis. This was a lot of work by both of our colleagues and Brazil as well as us here, and we are actually continuing to do some collaborative work with them,” said Kristen Wiley, the co-director of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.

When fully grown, this snake can get up to four feet long and produces up to 10 eggs at once. From this last breeding effort, they produced six babies.

“Well, some people say ‘why breed them?’ You know if you look at the Facebook comments any time we talk about ‘yay snakes,’ most people are like ‘why?’ Well, one main reason is that research with the venom has already saved millions of lives around the world,” Wiley said.

The zoo wants to use venom from the snake for medical research. The venom is filled with ace inhibitors that are used in modern-day medicine, including congestive heart failure treatment.

“So they are a valued thing to handle appropriately, they are not a toy, they are not something to play with or treat cavalierly, but treated properly and with respect, they can actually be very beneficial to people,” Wiley said.

This snake only breeds once a year and you can see it at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.

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