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Dallas Zoo On Speed Dial For Exotic Snake Bites

Dallas Zoo
Bradley Lawrence (right) handling a nonvenomous Texas bullsnake with KERA's Justin Martin

If you’re ever bitten by a venomous snake, your local hospital can probably take care of you. But if an exotic snake bites you, chances are a hurried phone call will be made to the Dallas Zoo. It has one of the country’s largest supplies of anti-venom.

Bradley Lawrence knows a thing or two about snakes - he’s the reptile and amphibian supervisor at the zoo, and he offers a look into anti-venom.

Interview Highlights: Bradley Lawrence

... on the Dallas Zoo's stockpile of antivenom: "The reptile department goes back quite a while especially in the '80s. We were pretty groundbreaking in research and learning how to take of all these exotic reptiles from around the world. Dallas was definitely groundbreaking at the time and we've continued it since then."

... on why a hospital would call the zoo: "Most of the hospitals around will stock antivenom for the native venomous snakes here in Texas. The calls that we get are folks that have exotic pets and don't realize: 'If I'm bitten where does this antivenom come from?' That's where we get involved."

... on how the antivenom is sent in an emergency: "The first call from the hospital goes to the poison control center. So they'll call me anytime day or night. Then I drive to the reptile building. Then they'll have a police officer meet me there - and they'll  take it either to the hospital or to CareFlite - depending on where it needs to go."

Bradley Lawrence is the reptile and amphibian supervisor at the Dallas Zoo.

Justin Martin is KERA’s local host of All Things Considered, anchoring afternoon newscasts for KERA 90.1. Justin grew up in Mannheim, Germany, and avidly listened to the Voice of America and National Public Radio whenever stateside. He graduated from the American Broadcasting School, and further polished his skills with radio veteran Kris Anderson of the Mighty 690 fame, a 50,000 watt border-blaster operating out of Tijuana, Mexico. Justin has worked as holiday anchor for the USA Radio Network, serving the U.S. Armed Forces Network. He’s also hosted, produced, and engineered several shows, including the Southern Gospel Jubilee on 660 KSKY.