Lethal snake takes a bite out of zoo director’s hand – again; Jim Harrison’s story continues

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Kentucky Reptile Zoo director Jim Harrison doesn't much like to talk about his hands because he says they call attention to 'mistakes' he's made while extracting snake venom. (Photo by Jane Auge)

Kentucky Reptile Zoo director Jim Harrison doesn’t much like to talk about his hands because he says they call attention to ‘mistakes’ he’s made while extracting snake venom. (Photo by Jane Auge)


 

It happened again … the director of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, Jim Harrison, was bitten while extracting venom from highly poisonous South American rattlesnake. According to news reports, he could have died in some 30 minutes if staff had not intervened.
 

Anyone who knows Harrison personally or has heard his story were probably not surprised. Harrison and the Kentucky Reptile Zoo near the Red River Gorge extract venom from snakes for medical and pharmaceutical research. The zoo provides venom that is manufactured into anti-venom, necessary for treatment of otherwise lethal snake bites.
 

Not surprisingly, Harrison has been bitten numerous times. His story was recounted by Roger Auge II on KyForward.

Harrison, 54, however, does not like to talk about the bites – 19 over 30 years of thousands upon thousands of venomous snake encounters – because they call attention to “my mistakes.”
 

The most recent envenomation, or bite, was on the right pinkie by an Asian or monocled cobra and put him in the University of Kentucky Medical Center on life support for about 20 hours … . The pinkie now curls like a jagged half-moon, a souvenir of the big cobra. Three years ago, Harrison’s wrist suffered from a Bothrops bite, putting him in the hospital almost three weeks.

 

Read the full story here.
 

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