Kevin Budden

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This article was considered for deletion at Wikipedia on December 7 2019. This is a backup of Wikipedia:Kevin_Budden. All of its AfDs can be found at Wikipedia:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Kevin_Budden, the first at Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Kevin_Budden. Purge

Kevin Clifford Budden (1930[1] – July 28, 1950)[2] was an amateur Australian herpetologist and snake hunter. Budden was the first person to capture a live taipan for research and died from a snakebite in the process of doing so. His work was instrumental in developing a taipan antivenom.[3]

Early life

After leaving school, Budden worked as a retail assistant in Randwick, New South Wales.[4] At this time he joined the Australian Reptile Club and began hunting snakes as a hobby. He built his own snake pit and spent weekends in the bush collecting snakes.[5] In 1948 he caught some 59 snakes and was bitten five times.[4]

Taipan capture and death

In March 1950, Budden traveled to Queensland with two colleagues in an attempt to find and capture a taipan for the purpose of antivenom research.[3] The group had previously visited Cape York and the Northern Territory on a similar quest.[6][7] On July 27 Budden found and captured a six-foot taipan near Cairns. He carried the snake by hand, caught a ride from a passing truck, and took the snake to another local snake catcher where it was identified as a taipan. While attempting to bag the snake, Budden was bitten on his left thumb but was successful in placing the captured snake in a bag. Extracting a promise from the truck driver that he would get the snake to someone who would transport it south to researchers, and Budden was taken for medical treatment. Not having any antivenom for taipans, Budden was given Tiger snake antivenom. Although that helped with the coagulation effect of taipan venom, it did not solve the second effect of the taipan venom which paralyses the nervous system. Though doctors were initially hopeful he would recover, he died the following afternoon.[3][8][9]


At the time of Budden's death, there were various rumours about the taipan, but it was not until Budden had captured this specimen that serious consideration was given to the potency of its venom.[10] Two prior taipan specimens had been obtained in 1923, but those snakes were dead and venom samples were contaminated.

Budden's captured snake was sent alive to the Commonwealth Research Laboratories in Melbourne,[8][9] where its venom was successfully milked by zoologist David Fleay,[11] who was at that time the director of Healesville Sanctuary.[9] Venom from the captured taipan was instrumental in researching and developing an antivenom, which became available in 1955,[12] and saved the life of an 11 year old Cairns boy before the year was over. The story of Budden and his sacrifice spurred efforts to capture other snakes and produce more antivenoms, including Brown snake in 1956, death adder in 1958, Papuan black snake in 1961: Sea snake in 1962, and polyvalent snake antivenom in 1962.[13]

In a 2014 article published in the Journal of Proteomics, University of Queensland venomologist Bryan Fry reported finding specimens of the venom harvested from the taipan that killed Budden. His study found that the venom had retained its toxicity after almost sixty years in dry storage.[3][14]

External links

  • Specimen D 8175, picture of the taipan Budden caught, as kept by Museums Victoria.


  1. "Catalogue listing (Kevin Budden papers, 1948-1950)". Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  2. Mirtschin, P. (2006); "The pioneers of venom production for Australian antivenoms", in: Toxicon, Vol. 48, p. 899-918. Retrieved online, 17 June 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Atfield, Cameron (16 January 2014). "Snake venom keeps its bite 80 years on". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Catches snakes as a hobby". News (Adelaide, South Australia): p. 13. 19 January 1949. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  5. "Taipan Victim's Many Snakebites". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, New South Wales): p. 8. 14 August 1950. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  6. "Leaving on snake hunt". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, New South Wales). 30 March 1949. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  7. "Snake Scalpers". Worker (Brisbane, Queensland): p. 4. 11 April 1949. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Taipan "belonga devil"". News (Adelaide, South Australia): p. 11. 1 August 1950. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Cushing, Nancy; Markwell, Kevin (2010). "5". Snake-Bitten: Eric Worrell and the Australian Reptile Park. University of New South Wales Press. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978 174223 232 4. 
  10. Orrell, John (26 October 1950). "The Taipan - Deadly Snake on View in Renmark". Murray Pioneer (Renmark, South Australia): p. 11. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  11. "Budden's Parents to Visit Grave". Townsville Daily Bulletin: p. 7. 12 August 1950. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  12. Williams, David (January 2004). "The Death of Kevin Budden". Archived from the original on 6 May 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  13. "Student and Post Graduate Projects". 
  14. Yong, Ed (January 2014). "80-Year-Old Vintage Snake Venom Can Still Kill". National Geographic. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 

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