The Calusa Herpetological Society

Of Southwest Florida




The Miami Serpentarium Tour 


Bill and Nancy Haast welcome the Calusa Herpetological Society to their laboratory.

May 6, 2001




The weather was beautiful for a field trip to visit Bill and Nancy Haast at their famous Miami Serpentarium Laboratories.


Our group met at their home and laboratory anticipating the legendary pair in their natural habitat.

Nancy was happy to greet us at the gate to their wonderful 88 acre grounds.
Once you were inside the gate you knew you weren't in Kansas anymore. This is Cobra Country. 
    She led us to their one and a half acre propagation  pit.
Nancy entered the propagation area wearing leather shin guards and a snake hook and shears to open the hiding boxes.
 Due to the high temperatures there were few snakes in the boxes. The first one that was found was a Copperhead which quickly retreated to the underbrush.
We ventured on along the 4 foot plus wall which contained the area and Nancy revealed a Western Diamondback Rattler.
We walked the entire perimeter and were led to the laboratory were Bill readied the snakes for milking. 
The first snakes to be removed from their enclosures to be milked were the Coral snakes.

     Bill is 90 years old and survived 168 bites two of which were nearly fatal. He still handles the snakes with hands.

The milking of venom from a serpent is tricky business. 
He feeds the snakes after each milking using what appeared to be a type of caulk gun with different size tubes for the different snakes.
The feeding paste is one of Bill's and Nancy's own design and contain all the requirements to keep the snakes healthy and producing venom. 
  Bill then retrieved the Egyptian  Cobras for milking and feeding.




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