But it was a meeting at the Miami Serpentarium that set Ludwin on the strange path that he’s become famous for. When his father took him to the Florida snake farm, he came across a man there by the name of Bill Haast, who had run the Serpentarium since it opened in 1947.
Part of the show that Haast put on at the tourist attraction involved him extracting venom from live snakes. He’d release them onto a table, catch them by hand and then make them bite into a cap on top of a vial. The venom from the snake would be released into the container. Customers at the Serpentarium would pay to see Haast perform this incredible feat.
In fact, he’s the holder of the Guinness World Record for having lived through the most deadly snake bites. That perhaps shouldn’t come as too much as a surprise, given his day job. By 2008 he’d been bitten 172 times, although Haast himself was unimpressed by his record. For him, being bitten by the snakes that he handled wasn’t something to be aimed for or emulated.