Bill Haast passed away

Bill Haast, 100 years old, died a few days ago. I met him several times, about half a century ago, when a friend and I used to sell him rattlesnakes. We got 25 cents per foot for live rattlesnakes.

Riding in the public bus to the Miami Serpentarium, we never did disclose to other passengers what was in the 5-gallon “pickle-buckets” we had with us.

The Miami Serpentarium statue at entrance

This statue greeted visitors to Bill Haast's Miami Serpentium located in Homestead, Florida.

The man was extraordinary in many respects, and had carefully developed over the decades ((by self-injection) an amazing resistance to the effects of snake venom. During the handling of some three million snakes, he had been bitten by poisonous ones more than 170 times. For a few species, he was the only person to have ever survived the bite.

I remember him as kind, intelligent, and very careful. And respectful of a couple of eager youths who contributed to his venom-milking laboratory operations. And his blood has saved the lives of at least 21 other people.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle