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Snake farm in Mekong Delta sells venom to make serum

A farm in the Mekong Delta that raises a high number of poisonous snakes, from Ophiophagus Hannah to Plagiopholis and Bungarus fasciatus, sells snake venom to make serum which can save people.
 

 

Dong Tam Snake Farm, established in 1977, is located on the bank of Tien River in Chau Thanh district of Tien Giang province, covering an area of 12 hectares.

This is the only place in the country where people can see the natural lives of snakes.

The cobras are kept in a separate cage built to fit their habits. There is a place for them to bask and a den for them to rest.

The favorite snake species at Dong Tam is the king cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah). Many of them weigh over 10 kilograms. The biggest snake weighs 27 kilograms. It is 4.2 meter long and has a life expectancy of 17 years.

“We raise about 50 snake varieties, including venomous and non-venomous ones,” said Mai Thai Hien of Dong Tam Farm.

“Venomous snakes are raised for conservation and scientific research. Also, we use venom to make serum to help save people,” she explained.

There are over 10 venomous snake species at Dong Tam, including kind cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah) and cobra (naja).

Cobras are larger and longer than other venomous snakes. Their venom is the most poisonous. King cobras live in highland forests, tropical forests, grasslands, plains and lakes.

The snakes lay 20-50 eggs in April-May every year. Their food includes other snakes, birds and lizards. King cobra is listed in Vietnam’s Red Book, marked at ‘E’ level. Their lifespan is 30 years.

Also according to Hien, one gram of cobra venom can kill 166 adults.

The snakes at Dong Tam have their venom taken once every 3-6 months. The snakes must be two years old or older, and they must be healthy. Before taking the venom, the snakes are allowed to fast for 5-7 days. 

Dong Tam Snake Farm is recognized as ‘first snake museum in Vietnam’

Dong Tam also has an emergency department to treat snake bites.

According to Doctor Nguyen Van Tuan of Dong Tam, the farm receives 1,500 patients a year, and saw 1,800 one year.

Most of the poisoned victims are from: Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Dong Thap, Long An and Vinh Long.  There are also people in Binh Thuan, Dong Nai and Binh Duong. Most people (60 percent) are bitten by red-tailed vipers (Trimeresurus albolabris), mostly in the rainy season.

“Victims need to be given first aid and then brought to the farm. All of the victims have been saved and there has been no death,” he said.

Tran Chung

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