Reality Show Snake Handling Preacher Dies From Snake Bite

Jamie Coots, a third generation snake handler and star of National Geographic's "Snake Salvation," died Saturday as the result of a snake bite.

Reality Show Snake Handling Preacher Dies From Snake Bite
National Geographic

Jamie Coots, the star of a reality show about religious snake handling, has died after being bitten by one of his snakes.

Coots reportedly died Saturday after being bitten on his middle finger. NBC writes, "Coots was bitten at the church at 8:30 p.m. but died at his home two hours later, after refusing medical treatment."

Coots and his congregation were the stars of National Geographic's "Snake Salvation," a show which highlighted the ritual of snake handling in Coots' church. The show ran through late October of last year.

National Geographic released a statement on the un-timely death to CNN, which said in part, "We were constantly struck by his devout religious convictions despite the health and legal peril he often faced. Those risks were always worth it to him."

Coots was a third generation "serpent handler," and along with the obvious danger of the practice, it also brought him trouble with the law.

According to National Geographic, Coots was given one year probation in February of 2013 for crossing into Tennessee with venomous snakes. Coots was also arrested in 2008 for keeping more than 70 snakes in his house.

"If I can find a way to bypass Tennessee. ... I won't go through it no more. Because I'm not going to stop buying snakes." (Via WLEX)

Another preacher who handled snakes in West Virginia died from a snake bite back in May of 2012. He didn't go to the hospital for eight hours after the bite and died shortly after he arrived. (Via The Washington Post)

National Geographic says it never intended to shoot a second season of the Snake Salvation show. The Coots family has yet to release a statement in regards to Jamie Coots' death.