There are several things about Taiwan that you must do in order to say that you've really seen "everything", and the snake markets is one of them. Which is too bad, because they are a bit traumatizing (at least for me)!
I went there a few times in the last two years to show my friends or on a bet to drink the snake blood/venom/bile shots that they sell there. I was very confident to drink it too, until I saw the owner of the restaurant prepare it for us.
Here is one of our friends giving a public display of the preparation, hanging the snake by it's "neck" area by a noose and cutting it open with scissors as it wriggles and squirms frantically before the guy then cuts the ventricles to it's heart so we can all watch the blood pump out into a container.
When that is done, he will do the same thing for the area near the stomach so we can all see a nice blackish-green stuff come out, at which time he'll say something about how that's good for our skin (or lifespan... or sex drive, I can't remember which).
I should say that many of the Taiwanese I was standing next to had never seen this kind of thing before, and most of them were somewhat disgusted by the whole thing.
However, at one point, the one of the girls that came with my friends and I was pushing people aside to get the closest look possible at the guts and blood, which I found disturbing - she seemed like such a nice girl! Meanwhile little kids poked at whatever snake was closest and tried for the closest view of all the action as other guys and girls almost threw up ! XD
This other woman here is at the shop I once entered determined to drink the blood and bile and venom. This woman's shop is very popular, and she has a huge snake she always tries to force this guinea pig on, but the snake never eats it... this goes on for many many minutes as she hands out free samples of snakes blood (she offered one to my horrified ABC friend, who drank it because of the peer pressure: he had a very red face afterwards). After my friend drank it, she said "Look, even the Americans drink it!" Ironic, since he later told us that he only drank it because he felt he had to show his "Asian Pride" :-D
The snakes were kind of gross but I didn't mind too too much because I hate snakes. But then I saw turtles too! Turtles are one of my favorite... I even have a pet turtle! Anyway, they seem to chop of the head and poor the blood out, and you can see that the shell is there without the head... actually, I have no idea how you are suppose to eat the poor turtle, or what the health benefits are.
Ah well, that is the snake market. The snake market also has gross things like herbal remedies for your sexual illnesses (complete with poster-sized, color images of other people's sexual illnesses), sex toys, etc etc etc... There was even a yellow KTV there! You've gotta love Taiwan~ XD