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General Herp Talk Can't figure out where to post down in the other discussion forums? Too many options and too complicated? Well post your herp related messages here and to heck with it.

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Old 02-15-2012, 11:49 PM   #1

Before I get writing, I just wanted to put up a quick disclaimer. I do not & have never worked for any of the facilities, nor have I ever met anyone who has any relation to them prior to my visit. I’m not known to have great grammar or spelling, I tend to rant, & my ADD sometimes makes it difficult for me to make a point. The following was written only because I believe this place is a blast that everyone should get a chance to experience at least once. It’s only my own simple review but I hope it inspires more people to visit & hopefully gain the same affection I now have for this place.


I was lucky enough to visit the Reptile Discovery Center one of the days I spent in Florida this last week during my bachelor party celebration. The RDC is located at 2710 Big John Deland, FL 32724, the same location as Medtoxin laboratories. I believe Mr. Carl Barden owns both facilities & family members assist him with the daily operations. There’s little doubt in my mind Mr. Barden opened this center to share his interest & experience with the willing public & not to make a profit, which I cant help but to respect.

The center itself is broken down into 4 different sections that are open to the public. I was told I could take as many pictures as I wanted & definitely took advantage of the offer. It was hard trying to get good shots & share a few photos below but it doesn’t compare to actually walking through & checking everything out so if you get the opportunity, take it. None of my friends have any interest in reptiles but I was still able to talk four of them, still hung over from the night before to join me on my visit. That visit is probably the only thing we would all remember about the trip.

The first thing we noticed when pulling in to the center was a nature trail. The path through the woods had enclosures on each side. A few of the reptiles were not seen because they were brought inside due to the temperature but it was still a nice little stroll & they even had little stops throughout load with bug spray to use if needed.


Once we walked indoors we stood in a little gift shop. It had the usual soda & small treats available .It also had some shirts, souvenirs, & enough little toys to keep any child busy for hours while not breaking the bank. We even picked up a few toys we loved when we were young for our nieces & nephews that don’t really exist.

The indoor exhibits between the gift shop & venom extraction lab is loaded with wall enclosures, each holding some amazing animal & labeled with a brief description. It had the venomous & non-venomous, the big & small, & in my opinion all beautiful snakes. They only thing else I would of liked to see would have been a boa considering I’m a boa kind of guy.

We ended up finishing up in room with basically a glass wall giving you a view of where venom would be extracted from a few different snakes. This is where Mr. Barden introduced himself & a few critters (ball python morphs, baby gators, etc) we were allowed to get to know hands on. He was really nice & we briefly told him what we been up to in Florida. He was really down to earth & even asked about my boas before stepping away to the business of extracting venom. Every set of eyes stayed glued on him nervously through the glass.

Old 01-15-2013, 07:45 PM   #2
I know this post didn't get much attention when I wrote it but since I was made aware of a new story related to it I figured I might as post it here as an update

Former employee of snake-milking business sues over venomous bite

Carl Barden and then-assistant Denisse Abreu milk a snake at the Reptile Discovery Center near DeLand. Abreu now has her own, similar business and is suing Barden's company.

News-Journal file
By Frank Fernandez
Published: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 4:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.

A woman bitten by a venomous snake while working at the Reptile Discovery Center near DeLand is striking back by suing the business, which is owned by her ex-boyfriend.

Denisse Abreu was bitten in 2011 when the snake struck her “due to improper screening of the venomous' snakes cage” according to the lawsuit filed in Volusia County Circuit Court in DeLand. The lawsuit does not name the type of serpent.

Carl Barden owns the Reptile Discovery Center, which extracts venom from snakes and sells it to be turned into life-saving antivenin to treat snakebites. Among the snakes at the center are rattlesnakes and cobras.

Neither Barden nor Abreu could be reached for comment.

Abreu was at one time Barden's girlfriend, according to a 2009 News-Journal story. The story also described her as his assistant. In the story, Abreu describes meeting Barden.

“Through a friend I was introduced to Carl, and ever since we have become friends forever,” Abreu said in the story.

Abreu also has a business called Abreutoxin Venom Laboratories, according to its website, which has a “coming soon” label.

The lawsuit accuses the Reptile Discovery Center of “Negligently failing to inspect or adequately inspect the screening to the cage containing the venomous snake ... to ascertain whether the improperly secured lid constituted a hazard to employees and members of the public utilizing said cage.”

Abreu suffered “pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, permanent and significant scarring, mental anguish” and the expense of medical care, according to the lawsuit.

Barden is a retired airline pilot who has been interested in snakes since he was a youth growing up in New York.

The Reptile Discovery Center is open to the public and people can go there to see venom extracted from snake and look at exhibits holding venomous snakes, including rattlesnakes, cobras and mambas.

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