Tag archives for Snakes

On last week’s episode of The Savage Line, animal guard Cory Valdes stumbled upon a fer-de-lance, a vicious snake whose name in French, roughly translated, means “lance head.” But while most know the snake as such, it has another, slightly less memorable name: Bothrops lanceolatus. Why does a snake with such an interesting, aggressive name…

The animal kingdom is full of creepy, slimy, nasty-looking creatures – and many of them can save your life. Doctors are incorporating nature’s weirdest animals in unorthodox treatments drawn from ancient healing methods, Eastern medicines and medical testing, developing new ways to heal patients. Learn more about how your least-favorite animals are curing illnesses below.…

“I like the spirit movin’, but I don’t like them snakes movin’.” – Ricky Skaggs Snake Salvation Pastor Andrew Hamblin was fast-tracked to become a bluegrass superstar when he was younger, but gave up his musical dreams to become a preacher and handle snakes. Playing bluegrass music is a forbidden practice in Hamblin’s Holiness faith.…

Law-Breaking Snakes

Inspired by Snake Salvation to start wrangling poisonous serpents? Newsflash – the practice of “handling reptiles in a dangerous way” has been illegal for over 60 years. After five churchgoers died from snakebites in church in 1947, snake handling was banned in every Appalachian state except West Virginia. But Snake Salvation Pastors Jamie Coots and…

Tonight on Snake Salvation, disaster strikes when Pastor Jamie’s father Greg Coots is bitten by the copperhead he handles in church. Greg, a bishop of the Holiness faith, has endured three snake bites before. And at age 61 with an enlarged heart, refusing to get treatment for the copperhead bite could mean death. Copperheads aren’t…

Anatomy of a Snakebite

“I handle snakes because I wanna go to heaven. When the death angel comes it’s time to go, and I don’t believe you can rush it.” – Little Cody Coots When a cottonmouth bites Little Cody Coots, he’s hit with excruciating pain and numbness. And when he tries to go snake hunting on Louisiana’s Laddo…

Six Snake-Handling Horror Stories

When it comes to snake handling, the truth is often stranger than fiction. Over 100 people have perished from snakebites during church services over the past century, and despite the outlawing of the practice in several southern states, a new generation of pastors is reviving the dangerous practice. Here are some of the most chilling…

With winter fast approaching the heart of Appalachia, Pastor Andrew Hamblin and Pastor Jamie Coots are in a desperate race against time: if the pastors can’t find and capture venomous snakes before the serpents go into hibernation, they won’t be able to practice a key sign of what they believe are the true believers of…

Imagine if your path into heaven was contingent on holding deadly snakes above your head while speaking and singing in tongues. Based on a Bible passage that suggests a poisonous snakebite will do no harm as long as its handler is anointed by God’s power, some devotees of this unconventional ritual practiced in 100 churches…

While many animals are celebrated in cultures as symbols of good tidings and fortune, not all animals are so highly esteemed. There are some animals in Western Culture of which people are consistently wary, especially when these animals make an unexpected appearance. Such animals are considered by some to be bad omens and sometimes even…

People who handle or keep poisonous snakes have to consider that at some point, whether or not it is their fault, they might get bit. Getting antivenom to deal with the ensuing poisoning however, may not be a simple prospect. If the patient is not given the appropriate antivenom for that particular snake’s venom, the…

More than 8,000 people are bit by venomous snakes a year in the United States and 99% of these bites are from the Crotalidae (pitviper) family. Rattlesnakes are the most common culprit. Despite the large number of bites, there are only about a dozen deaths resulting from venomous snake bites annually. People just do not…

Gator Battles Python

© Mike Barron The American alligator is a species success story. For millions of years, their kind has survived and evolved with the planet. And while the American alligator was once endangered, they now thrive in their native range, growing up to 15 feet in length. These giant reptiles are opportunistic hunters, lurking in waters…

Snake-Catching Robot

Catching a massive, venomous snake is dangerous business. But what if there was a safe way to capture the creature from a safe distance? Robots are often used for jobs that are too dangerous for humans, such as defusing bombs, capping oil wells deep down in the ocean, even exploring other planets. But can a…

Garter Snake Study

Photo Credit: Ohio Division of Wildlife Eastern plains garter snakes can be found in the prairie regions of the United States and Canada. During the warmer, drier months of the year, these serpents burrow underground or slip beneath rocky roadsides to stay cool. In the state of Ohio, the Eastern plains garter snake (Thamnophis radix)…

Communal Hibernation


In areas where winters are especially cold and harsh, certain animals have adapted to survive the chilliest conditions by hibernating. But as available hibernation sites may be limited in these zones, some species gather together in dens, caves, trees, cavities and burrows to fall into a deep winter slumber. By slipping into a state of…

Giant Snakes

© David Hamlin/NGT&F A “super snake” is a serpent of our nightmares. A massive, writhing cold-blooded tube of 10,000 muscles, capable of delivering 9,000 pounds of pressure, growing to lengths of over 30 feet and weighing over 300 pounds. Giant snakes – such as the green anaconda or reticulated python – have a slow metabolism…

Pet Python Attack

In the U.S., pet pythons can be a danger; killing or seriously injuring more than 20 people in the last ten years. A python’s constriction is powered by 10,000 muscles. A human arm has five. Python vs. Gator premieres Wednesday December 15 at 10P et/pt.Video Preview: Rescue firefighters get a 911 emergency call claiming “my roommate is being chocked…

Rattlesnake Strike

When food is scarce, the heavy-bodied Western diamondback rattlesnake can go without food for up to two years. But it moves its ribs along the ground, distinguishing vibrations, looking for the perfect place to score a meal. Thermal pits on its face detect heat, and its forked tongue picks up the tiniest of smells. Then…

Hunting for Snake Venom

Strike Force Production Crew Diary It’s obvious, when you’re dealing with highly venomous animals you have to be very careful. But when you’re filming a documentary about two scientists that handle deadly animals all the time, you have to be very careful. They make it look so easy, they make handling these killers look like…

Venomous Copperheads

In the eastern range of the United States, venomous copperheads are commonplace in the spring, summer and fall. The broad-banded species – like this snake, pictured – have dark, reddish brown cross bands that wrap around its body, a triangular-shaped head, heavy body, and tail tips with a grayish-green or even turquoise hue. As pit vipers,…

Viper Venom

Vipers have been evolving their way to the top of the reptile heap for millions of years. Armed with an amazing arsenal of deadly tools, vipers have proven to be remarkably successful predators. Sharpened by millennia of natural selection, vipers have used these advanced traits to penetrate almost every continent on the globe. But in…

Lion Murdered by a Snake

Rafiki – one of the large male lions in the Kingdom – needs surgery on both of his hind legs. In this episode, we’ll follow Rafiki’s operation, an abandoned hyena cub’s first introduction into the nursery and a painful but expected death at the Park. Then, just as things begin to slow down, the Kingdom…

Tree-Dwelling Pit Viper

Under the veil of the night, Wagler’s pit vipers use a predatory superpower – heat-sensitive pits – to detect and strike prey. And while considered relatively tranquil for a poisonous snake species, Wagler’s can still deliver a potent bite when threatened. On a recent ecotour in Malaysian Borneo, we spotted both a juvenile and adult…

Python Swallows Gazelle

Africa’s wild spaces host an incredible array of creatures who engage in a daily ballet of life and death. Among this myriad of species is an elite group of twelve known for their deadly proficiency. Africa’s Deadly Dozen airs on Nat Geo Wild Sunday September 12 at 7P et. Video Preview: The African python can…