The country's only supply of anti-venom stock has been destroyed following a fire at the National Reptile Zoo in Co Kilkenny. 

One cobra snake died when a blaze broke out in the venomous section of the zoo at 9.30am this morning.

It is understood the fire was caused by an electrical fault which affected the heating system.

10 vials of the anti-venom stock, worth a total of €5,000, which was stored under refrigeration in a separate area, was rendered unusable after temperatures reached 86C.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Zoo director and owner James Hennesey said the stock is held privately but an agreement with Beaumont Hospital exists to make it available as an anti-venom remedy in the case of a medical emergency.

Mr Hennesey told RTÉ News that it will take until next week to have new stock shipped into Ireland.

He said in the unlikely case of a venomous snakebite, the affected person would need to be airlifted to Liverpool for treatment.

Reptile zoo fire

He said that in the 13 years the stock existed, there had not been any snakebites of this nature in Ireland.

The facility, which welcomes 35,000 visitors each year, has been closed for the day and will reopen tomorrow.

Reporting: Niamh Nolan