Pioneer in snake venom research dies in Fla.

June 17, 2011 - 4:14 PM

MIAMI (AP) — A snake expert known as a pioneer in extracting venom for research has died in Florida.

Nancy Haast says her husband, Bill, died Wednesday evening at the age of 100.

Haast remained director of Miami Serpentarium Laboratories near Punta Gorda until his death. The original Miami Serpentarium, located south of Miami, was in operation from 1947 to 1984. Guests would pay admission to watch Haast extract venom from snakes, something he began doing as a boy.

Haast moved to Utah in 1984 but returned to Florida six years later. That's when he opened the new Punta Gorda facility, which continues to produce snake venom for medical and research use.

Haast had for years injected himself with different types of cobra venom to develop an immunity to bites.