Nat Geo's Snake Salvation Star Dead From Rattlesnake Bite

February 18, 2014

The star of National Geographic's "Snake Salvation" has died. He was bit by a rattlesnake during a February 15 service at his Middlesboro, Ky., church, the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name and refused treatment. Preacher Jamie Coots, 42, was bitten on the hand at the church while handling three rattlesnakes. According to NPR, Coots was driven home. Emergency responders met him at his home and tried to persuade him to accept anti-venom treatment. The emergency responders left and about an hour later, another call was made to inform the authorities that he had died. 


Coots, who had permits to keep the reptiles, was apparently bitten nine times over the last 22 years and told NPR last year that he believed he recovered every time due to the power of his faith. He came from a line of religious venomous snake handlers. His grandfather was the first in his family as a Pentecostal preacher to handle venomous snakes and preach at the same time, and his father followed in his footsteps. Coots had hoped to pass on the religious practice to his son, who also handles snakes at the church. 
 Followers of the religion take the readings from the Book of Mark in the King James Bible literally, believing that being bitten by a rattlesnake can mean several things; that the person bitten by the snake has sinned; has not lived a righteous life; or that God "was using that person as a messenger to confirm the faith and the word is true.

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There are approximately 125 congregations in Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Appalachia that handle the venomous reptiles. Coots kept about 30 rattlesnakes and copperheads in enclosures at his home. His favorite snake? The black timber rattlesnake. The very snake that administered the fatal dose of venom was a 2 1/2 foot black timber rattler, his son, Cody Coots told a local paper. 
The timber rattlesnake can be found in the eastern United States and grows to about three to five feet. It is considered one of the most dangerous of the rattlesnakes due in part to its long fangs and prodigious venom-creating capabilities, yet has a mild disposition when compared to other rattlesnakes. 


Snake salvation star Jamie Coots


Image courtesy National Geographic/Youtube

Jamie Coots, star of National Geographic's Snake Salvation reality show has died from a rattlesnake snake bite. He was 42.

Statement from National Geographic:

"Those risks were always worth it to him and his congregants as a means to demonstrate their unwavering faith," the statement said. "We were honored to be allowed such unique access to Pastor Jamie and his congregation during the course of our show, and give context to his method of worship. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."


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Reader Comments:
Feb 19, 2014 02:33 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Religion or not... That's just ridiculous.. not to take the antivenom.

All those snakes should be seized by officials and given to a person(s) that doesn't screw around with them.

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Feb 20, 2014 01:33 pm
 Posted by  Lizzy


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Feb 20, 2014 01:58 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

People are going to blame the snakes. :/


Matthew 4:7

"Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’"

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Feb 20, 2014 04:50 pm
 Posted by  camjeff

Venomous snakes are deadly and should be respected as such. These snake handlers that use snakes as a "prop" in order to show their religious faith have absolutely no respect for these creatures and these types of religious rituals should really be outlawed. Not because of the risk it poses to the humans that are handling these snakes because anyone stupid enough to handle a deadly creature in this manner must accept the risks that come with it, but because these animals don't deserve to be abused and disrepected like this. That being said, my thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of this man that lost his life for this.

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Feb 20, 2014 11:11 pm
 Posted by  Snakeman (^_^)

The pastor's and his disciples brain are smaller than the snakes brain they handle! sure the snakes are dumbfounded and memorized to see foolish pelople who think they can tame snake's into a religous act or think a non siner will be spared!! will not see the days end or the sun rise, these snake are traumatized just waiting for a way to escape? dancing out and acting like fools only confuses the snakes, one cannot train a rattle snake you might get away handleing them a couple of times but the cards are not in the peoples favor he deserved what he got and maybe the other's will follow another way of life, if there is a God [and science is proving that God is a man made figure] as we are taught he surely won't save a fool or his followers! let the snakes back where they belong and respect them..leave them in the wild and protect these creatures and stay out of there way! admire them at a distance but let em be. stupid is stupid does don't follow your leader if you want to live. or as I can see it this is Gods way of thinning out the masses! let your kids play with them all you religous nuts.

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