Steve Ludwin is a 50 year old man that was born in California. He now lives in England and is infamous for an incredibly strange fascination. He was raised in Connecticut and his attraction to reptiles began almost as early as he could walk. At the ripe young age of three years old he drew a sketch of his first reptile. However, it wasn’t until Ludwin was six years old and walking home from school one day when he was bitten by a garter snake, which is non-venomous. Although this snake bite left Ludwin in agony, he did little to dissuade his obsession for snakes. He finally got his first pet snake when he was ten years old and it was a boa constrictor. Seeing his son’s intense interest continue to develop, he took him to the Miami Serpentarium. He was lucky enough to meet Bill Haast, a zoologist who milked cobras and rattle snakes. Haast had injected himself with snake venom for most of his life and claimed he had not been sick since he started the snake venom.
Ludwig soon decided to put this theory to the test. He moved to London in 1987 and his technique for acquiring the snake venom is to put clingfilm of the top of a shot glass and get the snake to release its venom into the glass. Ludwin does this with all of his 18 venomous snakes at different times. He makes different cocktails combining the venom and has developed an astonishing immunity to venom. He is currently working with scientists from the University of Copenhagen to try and produce new and improved anti-venoms using Ludwin’s own antibodies.
Ludwin is quite an extravagant character. He sings in a punk rock band and has written songs for Placebo and Ash. Steve even convinced Ash to gargle with venom. There have been some ups and downs throughout his journey. He admits openly that the following the injections he is left with bruises and swelling, and sometimes a burning sensation that is similar to several wasp stings. There was also terrifying episode when he stated that, “I stupidly injected a cocktail made with venom from my rattlesnake, eyelash viper and green tree viper. I did it as part of a health experiment, but it went horribly wrong. I put the needle into my left wrist, and as soon as the venom went in, I knew it was game over.”
Nonetheless, Ludwin still swears by this snake venom. He swears that it gives him more energy, and feeling younger and fitter. A study in March did reveal that a molecule in snake venom could help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Maybe Ludwin really is on to something!