In 1950, when antivenin was not available for most Australian snakes, a young man called Kevin Budden went to Cairns to catch Australia’s most venomous animal. He caught a specimen eating a rat, but was unable to get it into a sack as required. Consequently, and I swear I am not making this up, he hitchhiked to a friend’s house with his hand around the throat of the thrashing two-metre coastal taipan.
At the house he briefly lost his grip and was bitten. Before getting to hospital, where he died, Budden secured the snake in a bag and sent it on its way to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, where it was milked — an essential step to produce the antivenin, which has saved many lives (although not before nearly getting one of the researchers there as well).