Venomous Company: Snakes and Agribusiness in Honduras


  • Lily Pearl Balloffet University of California, Santa Cruz, USA


The arrival of the United Fruit Company in Central America in 1899 wrought many enfolded layers of political, economic, and ecological devastation in the broader Caribbean Basin throughout the twentieth century. This article explores one of the projects that this company undertook at its tropical research stations—that of venomous snake research, and the production of antivenins. The story of this research allows us the opportunity to begin to explore an animal-centered history of this major corporation’s presence in the Lancetilla Valley of Honduras. It also opens the door to future research informed by a critical inter-American perspective on the history of mobile beings and products through the Caribbean Basin in the twentieth century.

Author Biography

Lily Pearl Balloffet, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

Lily Pearl Balloffet is an assistant professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studies migration and mobility in historical context. She is the author of Argentina in the Global Middle East (Stanford University Press, forthcoming), a transregional history told through the lens of alliances, solidarities, and exchanges that emerged from past migration booms in the Global South. Her current research explores histories of moving people, foreign capital, and evolving migration policies in the Caribbean Basin.

Photo of a serpentarium.