November 8, 2004 at 1:53 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 6:10 AM
Army medics get training at Cincinnati Zoo
A group of Cincinnati-area army medics got some specialized training over the weekend from what may seem like an unlikely source -- zoo keepers. Experts from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden were brought in to teach combat medics how to treat poisonous snakebites. Six kinds of venomous snakes live in Iraq and each one's bite requires a different kind of antidote. Zoo officials say that's why soldiers need to be able to identify the snakes and the symptoms caused by their venom. Kentucky Reptile Zoo director James Harrison says only about five percent of snakebites prove fatal. He says the biggest problem in treating snakebites is trying to keep the victim calm.