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  • STEVE LUDWIN: I'm going to show you the effects of the

  • hemotoxin in venom on blood, OK?

  • And you can already see pretty quickly, it's kind of

  • congealing.

  • It's quite gloopy.

  • And I'm beginning to wonder if that's such a good thing to be

  • happening in my body.

  • Sometimes I think, god, that can't be good.

  • I don't have a medical background.

  • I have no fucking idea what it's doing to my body.

  • If I did die due to snake venom or whatever, I'm sure

  • it'll be quite funny to a lot of people.

  • And they'll go, you see?

  • You see?

  • And even to myself, as I was floating out of my body and

  • looking down below, I'm sure I'd be laughing my ass off.

  • Like, you idiot.

  • You're not supposed to inject snake venom, you fool.

  • My name is Steve Ludwin, and I've been self-immunizing with

  • various snake venoms for well over 20 years now.

  • I'm kind of embarrassed.

  • I mean, I don't know have that medical background.

  • I don't even have a proper

  • American high school education.

  • There's been quite a few doctors and scientists that

  • have been horrified by my lack of having things that are

  • sterile and stuff like that.

  • We have our Lower Baja rattlesnake.

  • And bang.

  • You see that?

  • That's one unhappy rattle snake.

  • Relax.

  • I've always been in good health.

  • I haven't had something like the flu in

  • coming up on nine winters.

  • And as I've gotten older, people have started to

  • comment, oh wow, you don't seem like you're 46 years old.

  • I had some doctors do tests on my skin, and they were all

  • kind of a little bit baffled.

  • All right, buddy.

  • Up.

  • This girl doesn't really like it very much.

  • This is why I'm always nervous holding a viper because they

  • can spin their fangs around and actually go through their

  • lip to get your fingers.

  • This snake is not wanting to be milked.

  • Sometimes that happens.

  • I had quite an unusual sort of upbringing.

  • I'm the son of a Pan Am pilot.

  • I had a real "Catch Me If You Can" Leonardo

  • DiCaprio sort of lifestyle.

  • I had a credit card.

  • It just said Pan Am on it with my name, Steve Ludwin, and I

  • could get on any plane, as long as I was

  • wearing a tie, for free.

  • My father took me down to the Miami Serpetarium, when I was

  • about nine years old, and I got to meet this now famous

  • herpetologist called Bill Haast.

  • He was the first westerner to start injecting himself with

  • snake venom.

  • He started in 1948.

  • I was very young and impressionable.

  • I loved snakes.

  • From that moment on after meeting him, I was like wow,

  • you can become immune to snake venom?

  • This is crazy.

  • That's called vaccinology.

  • It's the oldest form of medicine apparently.

  • When I was about 17, I was like, I've got to get that

  • venom into me somehow.

  • This is called a Pope's tree viper, and I'm a little bit

  • wary of them.

  • But it's a beautiful snake.

  • Don't know if you can see those fangs.

  • Do you see that fang?

  • It's a hemotoxin and it's going to cause massive tissue

  • destruction.

  • People have died from these snakes, so you do not want

  • that on your finger.

  • I moved to London in 1987, and I started working in East End.

  • It was called The Vivarium.

  • And basically my job for 1 pound 60 an hour was to unpack

  • cobras and scorpions and tarantulas and reptiles for

  • zoos and laboratories.

  • See you later.

  • I started bringing the venomous snakes home.

  • My first time doing it was crazy.

  • I had never even milked a snake before, and I just kind

  • of had to figure it out on my own.

  • So what I would do is I would take a scalpel and scratch

  • like two little scratch marks into my arm.

  • I would take a little bit of the venom, and I would drop it

  • into the cut.

  • And you could feel it the first time.

  • It was like ah, that burns.

  • I quickly washed it off because I was scared.

  • I was like, what is this going to do?

  • It kind of swelled up and my heart started pounding, not

  • because of the venom, because it was like, oh my god, is

  • this going to stop?

  • Is it going to kill me?

  • I had no idea.

  • Since people have kind of heard what I've been doing and

  • stuff like that, I've seen a lot of people bitching.

  • They're worse than like "Star Trek" fans, to be honest with

  • you, reptile people sometimes.

  • I always thought when the internet came, I was like,

  • wow, you can communicate with other people that have the

  • same passion about these animals.

  • But it's not the case.

  • There's a lot of bitchiness and who has the biggest snake.

  • I don't keep big snakes.

  • Guys that keep big snakes are hiding a secret.

  • This is the last hemotoxic snake that goes into my

  • snakebite cocktail.

  • This is called an eyelash viper.

  • This is one of the scariest snakes that I own.

  • This the snake that bit me.

  • The worst pain that I've ever had in my life.

  • And I've had lots of accidents with venom.

  • But it felt like you had put your hand down on a marble

  • table and someone took a sledgehammer and smashed it

  • onto your pinky.

  • But the funny thing is that that pain never subsided for

  • eight fucking hours.

  • And I had some scientists in the States saying get yourself

  • to the hospital.

  • This is not a good snake to be bitten by.

  • But I kind of waited it out.

  • I had confidence that I was going to be OK.

  • But it's a really aggressive snake, and it's

  • really tricky to milk.

  • There you go.

  • Whoa, there's lots of venom coming out there.

  • Thank you.

  • So those are our hemotoxins.

  • I posted a really beautiful snake that I have on YouTube.

  • It's called a macrops pit viper.

  • Just because I'm handling this snake,

  • it's called free handling.

  • There's death threats and people have just gone crazy.

  • I could poke it in my eye a million times and

  • it would not bite.

  • "These snakes can and will kill you.

  • Everybody take a good long look.

  • The moron attached to that arm is the reason why you have

  • trouble keeping your reptiles legally." I'm not a moron

  • attached to this arm.

  • Oh, yes I am.

  • "To think we lock up pedophiles and murderers when

  • sickos like this are free to roam our streets.

  • What's wrong with the world these days?" Now, I think

  • that's somebody being sarcastic.

  • OK, here is a good one.

  • "You, to put it kindly, are an ignorant fucktard.

  • I sincerely hope you get bit hard.

  • And I strongly dissuade anyone watching this video from

  • repeating the actions of this small-penised individual.

  • Stupid dick hammer." Now, that's good.

  • That's good.

  • This next snake is the Naja kaouthia which is responsible

  • for a lot of deaths every year.

  • In the time that I've been working with this snake, I've

  • had some injections where I was a little bit cocky with it

  • and got the dilution sort of wrong.

  • They were like volcanoes.

  • I had three of them.

  • I had two on this leg and one down here.

  • And they were growing and growing and burning.

  • And for days, I was like, oh god, I

  • could feel this pressure.

  • I touched it and goo shot out five foot

  • across onto the carpet.

  • And I was just like, oh my god.

  • Oh fuck.

  • I'm fucked here.

  • And I got this massive needle for

  • injecting horses or something.

  • I put on some ACDC and it just gave me the strength just to--

  • against all your will, just push this down and you could

  • feel it going down into something.

  • Do I have the nucleus yet?

  • I'm pulling on this.

  • No, I don't think I've got the nucleus.

  • I think I've gone through it.

  • Pull it back out, hit the nucleus, and it was just like

  • pwaaachh, just pulling back on the most disgusting stuff that

  • you'd ever want to see.

  • And I was like, oh, I'm just going to squeeze it.

  • And I squeezed this, but it actually made a sound.

  • It was like peuh.

  • I looked down in there and there was a

  • fucking hole in my leg.

  • I could see inside my leg where all the tissue had sort

  • of rotted away.

  • And I noticed flies coming to it immediately.

  • And it stunk.

  • It was like death.

  • It was rotting.

  • I never want that happening again.

  • You hear it?

  • This is not the hemotoxic snake.

  • This is something that's got the neurotoxin, the Naja

  • kaouthia, which is the monocled cobra.

  • Simple.

  • And let go.

  • Since I've kind of discovered the possibilities with the

  • neurotoxins in this cobra venom, I've been using it in

  • sporting activities recently and kind of testing it.

  • It's Kind of added a little bit of extra speed into my

  • normal abilities.

  • I've been doing tests on my skateboard from my house into

  • the West End.

  • I see how fast I can get in there.

  • I just use the roads, and I think the cobra

  • venom helps with that.

  • It's just sort of like, I go in between cars, I go in

  • between buses, I go in the middle of the road.

  • I just cane it.

  • I feel like I've got so much energy and speed.

  • When I'm skating, I've learned to actually start

  • moving like a snake.

  • And I found myself just kind of using that S-shape--

  • carving and carving, and it actually starts giving you a

  • little bit of power.

  • -William Haast, director of the Serpetarium, has had much

  • experience in handling cobras.

  • But he still treats them with the greatest respect.

  • Gather 'round, folks, but not too close.

  • STEVE LUDWIN: Bill Haast really is my Beatles and

  • Rolling Stones and Beach Boys all wrapped in one.

  • He died last year.

  • He was just like two weeks shy of 101.

  • He'd say that he hasn't been sick a day in his life, and it

  • made me start thinking, OK, wow, there's something here.

  • He was really my parameter of sort of

  • going, is this dangerous?

  • It's working for this guy.

  • He was treating people with polio, people with MS. He had

  • like 4,000 patients.

  • He had people that couldn't even walk.

  • And with the right doses and the right ingredients of his

  • medicines that contained various snake venoms, people--

  • I've seen footage of it--

  • they're playing basketball.

  • But the FDA heard about what he was doing and they shut him

  • down, even though he was having such success with it.

  • But the other thing that Bill Haast did,

  • which is totally amazing--

  • it's miraculous.

  • It almost sounds like a messiah.

  • Because he was immune to these snake venoms, he's given his

  • blood to snakebite victims that are dying,

  • and then they survive.

  • I've milked all the snakes.

  • And I've got hemotoxins in one glass.

  • This is the one that kind of had the cocktails.

  • So I'm drawing that venom up into this syringe.