Human Interest

Australian snake ‘Whiplash’ breaks venom yield world record

Sydney, Australia, June 9 (efe-epa).- A Coastal Taipan snake named Whiplash has broken the world record for the largest venom yield, with enough extracted just in a single milking session to kill over 100 humans, the Australian Reptile Park announced on Tuesday.

The Coastal Taipan, which usually lives in northern and eastern Australia and the southern part of Papua New Guinea, is considered one of the most venomous snakes in the world.

The keepers extracted 3.32 grams of venom from Whiplash in one session, breaking the same snake’s earlier record of 3.1027 grams from a single yield.

The amount “is enough to kill over 100 humans and well above the average yield of 1.8 grams per milking,” the Australian Reptile Park said.

“The process of milking a venomous snake requires keepers to secure the 3-metre long deadly snake, sink its fangs into a large shot glass covered with plastic and get it to deliver its lethal bite,” the park’s venom supervisor Zac Bower said in a statement.

“I milk thousands of snakes a year, and I know a whopper when I see one!” he added.

Operations manager Scott Ryan said in the statement that “Whiplash is one of our most dangerous snakes here at the park and is known for being quite unpredictable and keeping us all on our toes! Especially as we all know what he is capable of with his continuously large venom yields!”

The venom from the Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) is collected alongside that of five groups of Australia’s deadliest snakes including other Taipans, Brown Snakes, Tiger Snakes, Death Adders and Black Snakes, which are used for the Australian Reptile Park’s venom program.

The venom is then freeze-dried to remove moisture and delivered to Seqiris in Melbourne to produce the anti-venom.

Every year there are 2,000 reported snake bites in Australia, with over 300 receiving anti-venom, Bower said.

“Coastal Taipans are one of the most venomous snakes in the world, ranking number three on the list! They are known worldwide for their aggression and bites have caused fatalities every year,” Bower said.

“We are the only facility in Australia that milks Taipans for the production of anti-venom so Whiplash’s record-breaking contribution will go towards saving someone’s life,” he added.

The Coastal Taipan, which can measure up to three meters (10 feet) long and the color of which varies from yellowish to reddish brown to almost black, usually feeds on rodents, amphibians and small reptiles and is essential to the Australian ecosystem. EFE-EPA


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