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Old 02-18-21, 12:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Milking Western Hognose for Research Purposes

Hi everyone!

I'm kinda new to the forum but I had used it once before when actually buying my pet hognose snake a couple years back to figure out husbandry needs and everyone was super helpful! Anyways fast track to now and I'm doing a PhD project working with western hognose snakes in which I have to try to extract venom for our observations. I wanted to test out voluntary venom release to see if that would increase venom output (if a snake has more reason to inject venom for example thinking its prey, maybe it would release more?) and I'm having a hard time trying to come up with a way to collect the venom in this manner.

Western hognoses are fixed fang snakes that have really weak muscles attached to their venom glands so they need to chew their venom into their prey. Whatever device I make to extract the venom would have to be able to withstand that while capturing as much of the venom as possible. I was thinking some kind of durable ball thing with bubble wrap like material around the outside so that the individual teeth could slide into pockets that I could extract the venom from afterwards. Any help or advice on even on how the regular milking method for a hognose goes would be super helpful (if people even do that given its low potency)!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-26-21, 06:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Milking Western Hognose for Research Purposes

Has anyone ever milked hognose snakes before? I think being fixed fanged and "rear" fanged would make it more difficult.

You would need to replicate the prey similar to a frog and I would agree a ball would make sense in that case. I would try to have something like you suggest, some type of pocket however instead of trying to aim the teeth to some pockets I would try to make it so the venom slid down the ball into a container for collection.
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Old 02-26-21, 08:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Milking Western Hognose for Research Purposes

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for your reply! Your idea works too, if I can figure out a way to pool all the venom released into some kind of siphon or vial at the bottom of the chewing device, we may be able to extract it afterwards. My only issue with letting the venom travel any distance is that we are working with microlitres, so trying to harvest as much as possible while maintaining a clean sample is top priority. I'm afraid if we were to let the venom drip down a surface I might lose a lot of it on the surface. But that is a really good idea though, because maybe I could create little a ball that has pockets further down which concave in that the venom could slide into. Sigh if only someone milked hognoses on the regular -_-
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