Some of us are in a strange way fascinated by these strange and in many cases deadly creatures called snakes as long as we see them in a zoo,read or watch documentaries about them.We certainly don’t want to have an encounter with these creatures,but there are also extraordinary individuals whose attractions for these reptiles is much stronger than the fear they generate and or whom handling snakes is their second nature,although they are fully aware of the danger to which they expose themselves when dealing with such unfriendly animals.
I haven’t met such a person yet and I don’treally have any desire to have one of them as my neighbor,but I have to admit that their courage is amazing;you have to be a little crazy to try to imitate these guys.Such an amazing case is that of Steve Ludwin,a man in his forties whose passion for snakes is literally in his blood because he has been injecting himself with snake venom for more than twenty years.If you check on Steve’s Youtube channel,you will notice that he looks younger than his actual age.Is that a sign that his immune system has been strengthened throughout the years by the constant self administration of venom from some of the world’s deadliest snakes?It’s possible;from watching a Youtube documentary about Steve’s unusual passion,I realize that Steve simply likes to experiment with his own body and he’s aware of the danger he exposes himself;in fact,he almost died when he accidentally injected too much venom in his blood stream.However,that doesn’t stop him from consuming his daily dose of venom just like other people have their daily cup of coffee.
Another amazing individual for whom dealing with deadly snakes is not only a passion,but a full-time job,is Jackie Bibby,the Texas Snake Man,and the protagonist of “Rattlesnake Republic”,a reality show whose first series I watched on Discovery Channel.Jackie’s a man who not only hunts snakes and risks his life by looking for them in their hideouts,but he also playing with them just like ordinary people play with cats and dogs;he established several world records such as lying in a bathtub surrounded by 195 rattlesnakes or holding 13 rattlesnakes in his mouth.However,I recently learned from an article written by a friend of mine that the consequences of the 11th snake bite suffered by Jackie last year were truly disastrous:he had to have his lower right leg amputated and it seemed that his career was over,but even if he’s in his sixties,Jackie seems determined to continue doing
Another incredible man I’ve seen on National Geographic’s outstanding series “Taboo” is Jim Dix,a man from Utah with a passion for animals in general and reptiles in particular which might be characterized as obsession by many specialists because he basically turned his own house into a zoo.At the time the documentary was made,he had more than 500 animals in his house and yard,most of them being snakes,either venomous or constrictors,and I guess that after being relocated to another space he extended his unusual collection.With such an incredible number of creatures to take care of,Jim had to dedicate his entire free time and all his earnings to his mission of saving these animals from his extinction.It is no surprise that when,after 25 years of marriage,his wife told him to choose between her and his non human friends,he divorced.This way he could dedicate his entire time and energy to taking care of his friends,which might easily kill him if one escaped from its enclosure.
These are only 3 cases of people for whom snakes are more important than anything in life.It’s certainly hard for us to understand what motivates them into dealing with deadly creatures every day of their lives,but we must respect their choices.After all,if we have a passion for something,no matter how unusual it may appear to others,we should follow it if it makes us happy,but let’s never forget the dangers to which we expose ourselves when having such a deadly passion.