China’s Zisiqiao Village: Snakes Are Our Business, Our Only Business
Posted on July 7, 2011
This small, peaceful village in China’s eastern Zhejiang province with the name that seems impossible for westerners to pronounce is home to 160 farming families who collectively breed more than three million snakes annually.
Each and every home in this village nestled in the core of China’s vast farmland contains literally thousands of the world’s most feared snakes including: cobras, vipers and pythons. These slithering reptiles are used for food and traditional medicine and have become a lucrative vocation, netting millions of dollars to a poor village that would otherwise eke out a living from farming alone.
“As the number one snake village in China, it’s impossible for us to raise only one kind of snake. We are researching many kinds of snakes and the methods of breeding them… Our original breeding method has been approved and recognized by the province and the county. They see us as the corporation working with the farming families,” said Yang Hongchang, the 60-year-old farmer who introduced snake breeding to the village back in 1985.
Yang made a fortune within the short span of three years by capturing local snakes and selling them to animal vendors. He soon developed the idea to breed the snakes at home instead of going out to search for them. Soon, other villagers decided to follow Yang’s example.
Within the boundaries of traditional Chinese medicine, snake venom is renowned for its medicinal properties and the snakes are often cooked in soups and wine and considered aids to boosting a person’s natural immunity to disease.
The inherent danger of snake breeding is obvious and many a farmer has been bitten, only to be saved by an injection of the medicinal antidote.
Yang now has his own company and his own brand of products. He also backs research and development for his goods, which range from dried snake to wine and snake powder.
Apparently, life has its risks and its rewards even if you are born a poisonous snake.
Check out this video below about breeding snakes and…shiver!