The Herpetarium is a UK Home Office accredited and inspected experimental animal facility and is a critical resource for all the activities of the Centre for Snakebite Research and Intervention (CSRI). Our lead herpetologist, Paul Rowley, and his assistant Edouard Crittenden provide specialist care for one of the largest and most diverse collections of venomous snakes in Europe.
The CSRI has worked assiduously to increase awareness of the neglect of tropical snakebite victims. Part of this includes providing talks about our research work and tours of the Herpetarium to visitors from the Armed Forces, the public, school and college pupils, and undergraduate & post-graduate University students (6,000 visitors since 2010).
There is a special emphasis on the African continent with the majority of our snakes being haemotoxic vipers such as Saw-scaled vipers (Echis spp.), Puff adders (Bitis arietans), Gaboon vipers (Bitis gabonica) and neurotoxic elapids such as the Black and Green mambas (Dendroaspis spp.) and several spitting and non-spitting cobras (Naja spp.).
Venom is extracted from our snakes at regular intervals and this venom is immediately frozen and subsequently lyophilised and then stored at 4oC. The venom is used in our own basic science research and therapeutic research, shared among collaborators worldwide and has been used to supply antivenom manufactures.