New York’s zoos fulfill a number of roles. For instance they are important centers of conservancy work and as well of course they provide an opportunity for everyday New Yorkers to see in real life, animals, birds and reptles that under normal circumstances would just be pictures in a book or an image in a film or on a TV monitor. However they can also be an important training ground for medical emergencies related to wild animals and especially reptiles.
Staten Island Zoo has a renowned reptile wing which is used to help train doctors in recognizing different types of venomous snakes, how to handle them and most importantly how to treat snake bites. The Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake kills the most people in the United States followed closely by the Western Diamondback. And fortuantely StaTen Island Zoo has particular expertise in rattlesnake bites having once held the most complete rattlesnake collection in the world. It’s not so complete these days but the accumulated knowledge of zoo staff is extremely valuable.
The point at which humans and snakes interesect in the modern world are usually unhappy instances of snakes just trying to find soemwhere warm to rest up and the everday activities of people just doing their jobs. So sometimes tilers working on roofs will encounter a snake or landscapers clearing underbrush or even a mechanic opening up the hood of a car to discover a snake curled happily around a warm engine. Apparently snakes are almost never out to get us, they really are just trying to find somewhere warm and safe and our job if we discover one is to not scare them into doing any attacking.
The trainee doctors as well as learning to recognize snakes learn all about how the zoo and the Staten Island University Hospital work together to ensure life saving venoms get to people who have been bitten by snakes, as quickly as possible. Tnis is truly a life saving collabaoration.