A snakebite specialist has urged Nigerians to embrace the trade of rearing snakes in order to boost their economic status.

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Dr Abubakar Ballah, the officer in charge of Snakebite Treatment and Research Centre, Kaltungo in Gombe state, says snake rearing is one of the most profitable trades.

According to him, the business is lucrative because of the high cost of snake venom which pharmaceutical industries use in producing anti-snake venom.

“An ounce of the venom of a carpet viper snake is 500 USD, that of cobra and puff adder snakes cost 400 USD, and the good thing about the business is that you can find market easily through internet,” Ballah told NAN.

He explained that apart from the production of anti snakebite venoms, the pharmaceutical industries use the snake venoms in the production of anti hypertensive, cancer and ulcer drugs.

Ballah also revealed that reptiles could be sold to earn foreign exchange.

“For example, Indonesia has the largest reservoir of snakes in the world, very beautiful, colourful and harmless, and the government of that country exports them to earn revenue,” he added.

“In the area of fashion, the skins of the reptile is used in the production of fanciful belts, ladies handbags, shoes and other items.

“It is therefore ironical to see fashion-conscious people, dressed in shoes, belts and handbags made from snake skins, either having phobia for live snakes, or see the reptile as enemy number one.”