Previously trading as D. Muller Professional Snake Catchers, S.A. Venom Supplies cc. have been producing high quality venom for anti-venom and research purposes since 1964.
We are the largest producers and suppliers of snake venoms in South Africa. We supply our venoms to scientific and medical institutions both in South Africa and internationally. We have been the major supplier of snake venom to the S.A.I.M.R. (now S.A.V.P), since the early sixties.
Our quarantine, breeding and extraction station is situated in the heart of Black Mamba country in the Limpopo Province, 500 kilometers north of Johannesburg.
Our snakes are kept in enclosures exclusively designed to accommodate our climate and are fed a well balanced to varied diet of rats, mice frogs and quail. We take pride in the fact that we seldom lose any snakes to stress or disease. Due to the good condition of our snakes, venom yields are high and toxicity levels are optimum.
We have also perfected the extraction of venom from back-fanged snakes. This particularly applies to the Boomslang (Dispholidus typus). Due to our efforts in this regard, Boomslang serum is now manufactured and readily available.
I started a self-immunising program in 2010, after being scratched by a Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) fang, whilst extracting venom from the snake.
I suffered a severe allergic reaction to this venom. My throat and eyes closed up, so I had difficulty in breathing, I developed a very itchy rash all over my body and my nose wouldn’t stop running. I couldn’t administer any serum, as I have an allergic intolerance to the serum as well.
This reaction was the result of a build-up of many years of exposure to venom and venom dust, due to regularly working with snake venom without a mask.
I therefore decided that it was necessary to start an immunisation program in order to become less allergic to the venom. With such a serious reaction from a scratch would therefore probably mean that I would die from a proper bite, so I needed to protect myself against that.
I started with Black mamba venom. (Dendroaspis polylepis). I mixed a solution of 4000 units of sterilised water to 1unit of pure Black Mamba liquid venom.I injected myself with half a unit of the solution into my left forearm.This solution caused a reaction after 7 minutes.I injected myself once a week.
I continued the immunisation program for 12 months, increasing the venom percentage and decreasing the water dosage, until I had got to the point where I could inject pure venom with no water.
I started with half a unit of pure venom, which had no effect on me, except for a bit of swelling on the left forearm where I had injected myself. No other symptoms were experienced.
I increased the venom dosage each week, until I got to the point when I could inject 15 units of pure venom without it having any effect on me, besides the slight swelling of the left forearm.
I inoculate with a booster of 8 units every 6-8 weeks. No serum was received throughout the immunisation process.
I have been extending the time period between booster shots of 8 units, in order to determine how long it could take for me to start having a reaction to the venom once again, however, I have increased the time period to up to 18 weeks without experiencing a reaction.
I can now work with venom without any allergic reaction occurring.
I was bitten by a Jamsons mamba (Dendroaspis jamesoni jamesoni ). It was a substantial bite, which I estimate could have been about 80mg (8 units). Again, I received no serum (anti-venom) and had recovered by the following day.