Paul Rhymer, the last Smithsonian taxidermist, just retired after 25 years in the job his father and grandfather once held. hide caption

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Ken Darnell milks snakes in his Gordon, Ala., lab. The amount of venom he retrieves varies by snake, starting with just a few drops. Kathy Lohr/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Kathy Lohr/NPR

The MMT Observatory is home to the largest single-mirror telescope in North America, and engineer Michael Alegria is one of a handful of operators trained to use it. Howard Lester/MMT Observatory hide caption

itoggle caption Howard Lester/MMT Observatory