Many may chuckle about snake oil being used for bodily ailments, but snake venom’s medical potential is no laughing matter. 

Local snake master Steve Scruggs is advocating for more research on how the venom from vipers like the Southern copperhead could be used to hopefully not only treat but cure future cancer patients. 

Scruggs, the Hardigree Wildlife Sanctuary executive director, has made it both a livelihood and hobby to know about snakes, venomous and non-venomous alike. 

Over the past several years, he and his wife, Sharon, have gone to a medley of places all around the Southeast to show audiences how to properly identify snakes and their respective roles in their environments. 

Even though copperheads are the least venomous of their fang-bearing peers, a bite still has the potential to injure or kill a person, depending on the specific snake’s toxicity and the person’s state of health. 

However, that does not necessarily precludes more positive research of the venom. 

“I’ve always had an interest in how God put venomous snakes here for a reason,” he said. “Man has to do the research.” 

The key to the Southern copperheads’ and several other vipers’ venoms is protein. 

For more on this story, see the March 26 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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