Today we collected blood from one of our Chrysopelea paradisi specimens. The snake has been sick for a while, evidenced by the lack of ability to shed and recently some problems in the mouth. We are not sure what is wrong with it, so we collected a blood for a full analysis (sent off to a lab that has experience with reptiles). To collect the blood, we did a 'cardiac stick', which involves the insertion of a small needle directly into the heart and drawing about 1 mL of blood. The procedure sounds gruesome, but it is a standard method for use when a relatively large volume (such as this one) is needed from snakes. Our snake didn't even flinch when we drew the blood, which was a surprise to me. Dr. Julie Settlage, one of our OUV vets, did the extraction with aplomb. Nice work!
Below is Michelle Graham, who also helped with the procedure, with the sample.