In an interview with the New York Daily News, snake handler Steve Edge recalled Spielberg asking him to shave his legs, throw on a dress, and be Marion for every take that required close interaction with the reptiles. It’s a good thing he did, too. Per Edge:
“I got bitten quite a lot on my legs, because I was wearing the dress and I stood calf-deep among the creatures. Pythons have anti-coagulants in their saliva that stops the blood from coagulating. So if they can’t crush their prey, they’ll strike and it’ll get away. But the snake will follow until the prey is exhausted and run out of blood and then they eat you. Those bites are pretty painful, so when I got bitten several times on my feet and legs when I was in that shot there was a lot of bruising.”
Stunt people get knocked around plenty for the love of their craft, but sustaining multiple snake bites is where many of them likely draw the line. As for the cobra that comes face-to-face with Indy (clearly through a glass partition in non-digitally enhanced cuts), Edge claims it was still venomous. “There was anti-venom serum on hand in case one of them got bit,” he said. That’s … reassuring.
Amusingly, while Indy abhors snakes, Harrison Ford doesn’t mind them. “He was actually braver than Indiana Jones,” said Edge. “Harrison wasn’t fazed by it whatsoever.”
Which raises the question: how does Ford look with shaved legs?