Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'snakes'

Money Equals Life

April 4th, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Papuan taipan is arguably the deadliest snake in the world, but not only because of the intensity of its venom. The creature kills humans at such an alarming rate primarily because the antidote to its bite is too expensive for most Papuan medical facilities to afford. That unfortunate fact could soon change, though, thanks […]

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Confessions of a Snake Eater

August 9th, 2012 · No Comments

An in-depth perusal of the Sword Swallowing Hall of Fame led me to this gem of Victorian non-fiction—an anonymous first-person account of a life spent shoving dangerous objects down one’s gullet. Our storyteller’s most curious pursuit involves the ingestion of a reptile with which our species has a complicated relationship: I was the second one […]

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Taipan Be Not Proud

October 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Nearly two years ago, I posted about the exorbitant prices of anti-venom, which seem largely due to the reluctance of pharmaceutical manufacturers to service such a relatively small market. The end result of those companies’ economic sensibility is a dearth of medication in Papua New Guinea, where snake bites are a serious public-health problem: In […]

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The Scope of the Slithery Problem

April 22nd, 2011 · 4 Comments

One of the great riddles of epidemiology is the toll of snakebites on India. Various studies over the years have estimated the annual death toll anywhere from 1,300 to 50,000. Until recently, the most convincing analysis out there, based on data from local hospitals, put the number of fatalities at roughly 11,000 per year. But […]

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Lessons from the Thin White Duke

May 14th, 2010 · No Comments

Even if you never owned the cassette version of Use Your Illusion II, this recent interview with Slash can’t help but entertain. We’ve loved the man ever since seeing him avoid self-immolation by ever-so-calmly removing a dropped cigarette from his knee-high boot. (Such are the perils of falling asleep on talk-show couch, apparently.) Oh, and […]

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The Sad Ballad of Snake Bite Jones

November 11th, 2009 · 1 Comment

The man to the right of the pelican above is Bryan Vorster, a South African animal handler who loves to edutain the kids. Under the nom de scène Snake Bite Jones, he’s long been a fixture at the Johannesburg Zoo, where he thrills audiences by trotting out a vast array beasts—including the vultures used in […]

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“They Shall Take Up Serpents…”

November 3rd, 2009 · 5 Comments

Yesterday’s quick mention of religious snake handling set us off on a minor research tangent. We’re accustomed to witnessing the practice via cheesy TV segments, which have always struck us as a tad too overproduced to convey the emotional appeal of grasping serpents in the name of the Lord. Fortunately, The Tubes now contain a […]

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Antivenin and Econ 101

November 2nd, 2009 · 3 Comments

We initially didn’t quite believe the top-shelf venom prices quotes in this 1995 piece about Caucasian vipers. Upwards of $1,000 per gram just struck as too high, given the relative abundance of the most desirable species. But sure enough, the latest price list from the Kentucky Reptile Zoo proved our skepticism misplaced; a gram’s worth […]

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Even More on the Venom Trade

September 22nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

On the heels of yesterday’s post about the snake-catching monopoly enjoyed by India’s Irula people, we thought we’d turn our gaze slightly east and see who runs the reptile round-ups in neighboring Bangladesh. Though the erstwhile East Pakistan has no formal caste system, its society does tend to frown on a semi-nomadic people known as […]

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More on the Venom Trade

September 21st, 2009 · 5 Comments

In one of our recent posts regarding the troubled Pakistani snake-venom industry, we opined that government price controls were making the black market too appealing for Sindh Province’s snake charmers. As it turns out, a similar scenario is playing out far to the south, where India’s snake-catching Irula tribe is suspected of selling venom off […]

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The Venom Trade, Cont’d

September 18th, 2009 · No Comments

In yesterday’s post on Pakistan’s troubled system of snake-venom collection, we opined that technology seemed to have changed the field little. But if we’d read the latest issue of the journal Toxicon, we wouldn’t have been so quick to make such blanket claims. Because as it turns out, a Florida cottonmouth researchers are blazing trails: […]

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The Venom Trade

September 17th, 2009 · 10 Comments

As if the Pakistani government wasn’t already catching enough flak for its inefficacy, now some learned herpetologists are criticizing its lackluster approach to rounding up poisonous snakes: A report jointly prepared by Snake Research Academy (SRA) and University of Sindh, Jamshoro (SUJ) has slammed the snake catching methodology of the National Institute of Health Sciences […]

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“At the End of the Day, It’s Just a Snake”

September 1st, 2009 · 2 Comments

Ordinarily we’d save Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent for our weekly Bad Movie Friday feature. But, honestly, we don’t think we can sleep too many more days without knowing exactly what star DMX mumbles in the middle of this trailer. We think his closing line is, “The only thing you have to look forward […]

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A Bad Time to Get Bitten

August 7th, 2009 · No Comments

We’ve long assumed that antivenins were stocked in every hospital pharmacy, so that snakebite victims need only worry about getting medical attention in time. But, alas, that’s really not the case at all—even mainstream antivenins such as CroFab must often be shipped in to address specific cases, and rarer remedies are getting increasingly hard to […]

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