- Scorpion venom is not only dangerous — it can also make you quite a bit of money.
- The deathstalker is one of the most dangerous scorpions on the planet, and its venom is also the most expensive liquid in the world at $39 million per gallon.
- But it’s not so simple to just buy a gallon — you’d have to milk one scorpion 2.64 million times to fill a gallon.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Following is a transcript from the video:
Narrator: The deathstalker is one of the most dangerous scorpions on the planet, and what makes it so dangerous also happens to be the most expensive liquid in the world. This stuff costs $39 million per gallon. Now, even if you had the money, you couldn’t just go and buy a gallon of the stuff, because you can only get it in tiny, minuscule amounts. $130 will get you a droplet that’s smaller than a grain of sugar.
The reason why is pretty simple: the stuff is hard to get. Scorpions are almost always milked by hand, one by one. And one scorpion produces, at the most, just two milligrams of venom at a time.
So, let’s do the math. If you owned one scorpion you would have to milk it 2.64 million times to fill a gallon. And let’s face it, you’d probably get stung along the way as well. One sting isn’t enough to kill a healthy human, but I think it hurts.
Steve Trim: I’d easily put it being a hundred times more painful than a bee sting, but because pain is a subjective and emotional experience, it’s difficult to really get a quantification on that. But it’s definitely gonna ruin your day.
Narrator: That’s Venomtech founder Steve Trim, one of the few people brave enough to deal with these animals. That’s because inside that deadly venom, there’s actually tons of useful components that are helping pioneer breakthrough medicines.
Chlorotoxins, for example, are the perfect size to bind with certain cancer cells in the brain and spine, which is helpful for identifying the specific size and location of tumors. And researchers have used scorpion to eliminate malaria in mosquitoes. Kaliotoxin has been given to rats to fight bone disease. Scientists hope it could work in humans too.
These are just a few of the medical benefits that researchers have found in scorpion venom. And the more they research it, the more uses they find. Which means demand for this miracle venom continues to grow. So scientists are now trying to figure out ways to get more of it faster.
Like this group out of Morocco, who invented the first remote control machine for milking scorpions. It can safely milk up to four scorpions at a time. It might not sound like much, but it’s four times faster than a human. Scientists hope to get on the market within a few years, making the whole process faster and safer.
“Faster and safer?”, you’re probably thinking, “Hmmm, maybe I should start my own scorpion farm.”
Well, get in line, wise guy.
Steve Trim: There clearly has been a surge in people thinking, “Oh, this is a get rich quick scheme.” But with people not understanding how scorpion venom is used. We have seen a rise in the number of people saying they’ve got 300 grams of scorpion venom, do we want to buy it? And the answer is “No, we’ve got our own.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2018.
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