Hunting for Snake Venom

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Strike Force Production Crew Diary

It’s obvious, when you’re dealing with highly venomous animals you have to be very careful. But when you’re filming a documentary about two scientists that handle deadly animals all the time, you have to be very careful. They make it look so easy, they make handling these killers look like anyone could do it, but that is definitely not the case. Richard and Jamie have been doing this sort of work for a long time.

Wild animals won’t wait for us to get our cameras set up, so we have to be ready to shoot when their ready. As the director of the documentary it’s my job to try and not only cover what ever happens, but also try and sense what may be about to happen, so that the camera is always one step ahead of the action. This way we don’t miss the shot or key wildlife interactions.  

For example the shoot we did out at Ribbon Reef where we were out collecting sea snakes. We had a very tough time finding the sea snakes in the first place and once we found them we instantly had to start tagging them and getting them back in the water. But to do a shoot like that, where you are interacting with animals that can kill you if bitten, we have to go through a safety briefing before hand. So everyone on the boat, all the crew and others, were briefed as to where to stand so that they would be far enough away from any potentially lethal fangs. So when we are shooting one direction there is 20 people behind the camera to the left, and then when we shoot from the other direction, the people all have to move to the right and so on. It’s amazing the boat didn’t rock too much back and forwards with the movement of the people on board.

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After they had finished milking the sea snakes of their venom, we filmed Richard and Jamie taking the snakes down the stairs and then releasing the snakes back into the ocean. This was difficult as the boat was rocking around in the waves and there’s Richard and Jamie holding on a deadly seasnake, and me and the cameraman Bo are trying to follow the action. We always tried to get as close to the action as possible with our cameras, but sometimes, we made sure we kept a safe distance.

Seasnakes and Box Jellyfish may be deadly, but they are incredible creatures who have adapted very well to their environments. They are fascinating to film because they’re not the sorts of animals you would ordinarily want to get too close to, but when you take the time to watch them, there is an amazing sense of grace that they emit. They truly are wonders of the deep.

Strike Force: Venom Quest Premieres Monday November 15 at 10P et/pt on Nat Geo Wild.

Video Preview: The team sets out in search of a sea snake that could provide highly-prized anti-venom to snake bite victims.


  1. Bama Cat
    November 17, 2010, 1:02 am

    They are incredible creatures. I don’t think I would want to be messing with them in their natural environment. One bite and that’s it. Very Careful! is an understatement.

  2. bashiruddin hosein
    November 20, 2010, 8:31 pm

    despite being very dangerous i believe we have to protect them because they play such and inportant role in the natural ecosystem that aids in the balance of our existnece,, be it directly or indirectly,,,,

  3. Tea Zrnic
    November 20, 2010, 10:16 pm

    Incredibly beautiful animals. We should protect them,and do everything we can to make sure they survive for generations.