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News, Notes From a Snake-Filled Deathtrap

Last updated: January 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm. Posted by in Flamingo Las Vegas, Las Vegas Casinos, O'Sheas, Things to Do in Las Vegas. Comments Off on News, Notes From a Snake-Filled Deathtrap.

Snake expert Donald Schultz is all settled into his self-imposed cohabitation with 100 snakes outside O’Sheas on the Las Vegas Strip.

We stopped by last night, and have been watching the live stream of his adventure all day. Trust us, it’s addictive!

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Outside O'Sheas. Box o' snakes!

Schultz is using this stunt not only as fodder for an Animal Planet special, but also as a way to teach people about reptiles. He’s indulged guests outside the glass enclosure, and those asking questions online. You can take part in the conversation here.

Here are some facts that have come out during the Q&As.

• Schultz was once bitten by a western diamondback rattlesnake and no anti-venom was available. A good medical team saved him, anyway.

• His favorite movie is “District 9.”

• No snakes have gotten into his bed, yet!

• There are heaters in the floor of the enclosure.

• There are snakes for which there is no anti-venom.

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Schultz snaps pics of passersby. Who's on display now?

• He’s hypersensitive to venomous bites because of working with so many venomous snakes.

• One of the biggest challenges of living in this glass-walled enclosure for 10 days? He’s under intense scrutiny by the public. Schultz considers himself to be a shy person.

• As of today, there are eight rattlesnakes in the box.

• Schultz’s favorite snake in the world is the sea snake. The Gaboon viper is his favorite that’s currently in the enclosure with him.

• Favorite ice cream? Chocolate.

• Five snakes a day are being added until there are 100. The most dangerous are being saved until last, including a spitting cobra and a mamba.

• He has 80-90 “personal” snakes at home.

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Donald Schultz wrangles a deadly electrical cord.

• His mother is petrified of snakes, even after all the years Schultz has worked with them.

• The snake he respects the most is the black mamba.

• As for feeding the snakes, they usually only eat once a week. Rodents are euthanized, frozen and thawed before being offered up to the snakes. This process is the most humane, and also kills toxins in the rodents that might be hazardous to the snakes.

• Although impressive, this is not a world record. Two of Schultz’s friends hold that distinction. One stayed 112 days with 30 snakes, and another stayed 119 with 30 snakes.

• There are two cameras in the enclosure operating 24 hours a day.

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Trying, in vain, to get some shut-eye.

• Mambas like to climb upward. This will become a problem because once there’s one in the glass “box,” Schultz’s bed is elevated, so it could be mistaken for a “hide” by the snake.

• Schultz has been catching snakes since age 6. He was doing snake removals at 13.

• The puff adder in the enclosure was originally named Bitey, now it’s named Kim, thanks to the suggestion of an online viewer.

• If a snake is brightly colored, and not trying to camoflage itself, it’s probably highly venomous.

• Schultz likes giving animals human names.

• Most snakes are nocturnal. He says they’re much more active at night.

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Around the glass box, between O'Sheas and Flamingo on the Strip.

• The Gaboon viper has the longest fangs in the world. (At the time this blog post was written, a Gabon viper was sitting six inches from Schultz’s foot.)

• Schultz has a fear of heights, but doesn’t mind skydiving.

• Favorite dog? Dachshund.

• The Russell’s viper causes the most fatalities worldwide.

• For “Venom in Vegas,” the snakes were chosen for compatibility, so there’s no mixing of snakes from different countries.

• When asked if it’s boring in the box, Schultz showed off some DVDs he brought to watch on his laptop.

• The glass house has a small bathroom with a toilet and shower. Cold water only.

• Schultz is allergic to snake venom AND anti-venom.

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Bonus trivia: Schultz's favorite drink? Red Bull.

• Classic only-a-snake-guy-would-say-that quote: “I’m a little allergic to snake venom, so I take some Benedryl.”

• He was born in South Africa, lives in L.A. and became an American citizen last March.

• Schultz admits he has a fear of spiders and horses.

• He’s not currently in a relationship, and has no kids.

• In answer to “Why are you doing this?” Schultz said, “125,000 people die each year from snakebites, for lack of treatment. Victims are suffering needlessly.”

Watch the streaming video. It’s a blast! And get down to O’Sheas to see “Venom in Vegas” for yourself.



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