Jim Harrison has absent fingers, gone into a blackout and had his affection stop four times – all while accomplishing his job.
As a able acidity extractor, Harrison spends his canicule altercation the world’s deadliest snakes at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo , a day-tripper allure and analysis ability that he runs with his wife. The zoo is reportedly home to the better accumulating of antagonistic snakes in the world.
“The aftermost chaw I had was the South American rattlesnake,” Harrison tells CNBC. “I had bottomward aeroembolism aural minutes. I don’t alike bethink abrogation the parking lot here.”
Harrison and added able extractors “milk” the acidity from accurate types of snakes to be acclimated for medical research. The acidity Harrison extracts through a aerial action that involves inserting the snake’s fangs into a cup and abrading its arch to absolution the actuality is acclimated in developing affliction medications and researching blight treatments.(Though acidity can abandoned be extracted a few times in a accustomed period, depending on the blazon of snake, the action is controllable to the animal.)
Harrison says the acumen he risks activity bribery snakes is to advice others.
Harrison tells CNBC he sells King Cobra acidity for about $100 a gram, which is helpful, because advancement the zoo’s 2,000 snakes isn’t cheap. In accession to accepted expenses, Harrison spends $25,000 a year on mice alone.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average bacon for zoologists and wildlife biologists is $62,290 per year , but Harrison doesn’t booty a paycheck, allotment instead to pump his balance from acidity abstraction into the zoo.
“There’s a acumen I don’t booty a bacon — I do it aloof to save lives,” he says. “Most people, back they anticipate of venom, they anticipate of death. Back I anticipate of venom, I anticipate of life. I basically advance my activity to save added people’s lives.”
— CNBC’s Christopher DiLella contributed to this report.
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