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In September 1957, a live, 30-inch snake was sent to the Chicago Natural History Museum from the Lincoln Park Zoo (by Marlin Perkins, later of Mutual of Omaha fame), where it fell to herpetologist Dr. Karl P. Schmidt to identify it properly. The snake, as it turns out, was a juvenile boomslang from Africa, and while handling it, Schmidt was bitten on the hand. Rather than seek treatment–perhaps he was all too aware that the closest boomslang antivenin was in Africa, or maybe he underestimated the strength of the venom–Schmidt simply recorded the effects of the bite…then 15 hours later died, a drama captured in this short film by Science Friday.

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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal. Follow him on Instagram at @stevecasimiro.

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