The man who injects himself with venom

Steve Ludwin has been injecting himself with potent snake venom for decades. 

For the last 30 years, Steve Ludwin has carried out his controversial practice of collecting venom and injecting himself with it. From vipers to cobras, the snakes that have donated venom for Steve's experiments have pushed his body to the limit. He has even been hospitalised after overdosing on the  toxic substances.

In the video above, Steve explains why he continues to play such a dangerous game with death and the effect that his fascination with snakes has had on his life. This short film was originally produced for the exhibition Venom: Killer and cure

Complex chem-hiss-try

Venom is a complex cocktail of proteins and peptides. Each can have a different effect on the human body, from excruciating pain to extensive tissue decay and even death.

Species of saw-scaled vipers (Echis) have mostly haemotoxic and cytotoxic venoms. Haemotoxins negatively affect blood cells and blood vessels and cause general tissue damage and cytotoxins can cause cells to decay. 

Venom evolution expert at the Museum Dr Ronald Jenner travelled to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to see what would happen if he mixed his blood with the venom of these snakes.

Behind the scenes

Find out how we filmed Steve underwater, James Bond style.