COMMENTARY| In the latter part of 2012, I got introduced to a reality show on the Animal Planet network titled the ‘Rattlesnake Republic’. The show delves into the lives of several elite snake hunting teams from Texas, and their constant efforts to financially sustain themselves by doing what they love -hunting and capturing rattlesnakes. One of the hunters featured on the show is a man who is known by the nickname ‘The Texas Snake Man’, Jackie Bibby. Bibby is viewed as a legend throughout the state of Texas for his snake shows, and currently holds five Guinness World Records for his stunts involving snakes.
Although Bibby is an expert at handling snakes with over 40 years of experience, he has been bitten over ten times in his life. There was even an episode on ‘Rattlesnake Republic’ that showed Bibby being bitten while performing a stunt for a small group of fans. The bite landed Bibby in the hospital, which caused his two trusted sidekicks Dougie Dugger and Mike Herzog to align with a rival hunter from another crew. Bibby would return in the next episode, and kept on doing what he obviously loves; hunting snakes.
A few weeks ago while watching the local evening news, I spotted a piece featuring Jackie Bibby. Upon immediately recognizing him from the show, I continued to watch the piece that featured him. During the presentation, it was revealed that Bibby suffered a bite in September of 2012. The bite took place at a private corporate event in Dallas. The event featured Bibby doing a trademark of snake of his, that required him handling rattlesnakes. However, Bibby was bitten by a large rattler in his boot. Although Bibby has admittedly said he is a lucky man to have his life despite being bitten so many times, he wasn’t able to escape from this particular bite unscathed.
The bite resulted in Bibby’s lower right leg having to be amputated just below the knee. You can imagine how shocked I was at seeing Bibby on crutches missing his lower right leg. I immediately thought to myself; what is going to happen with the Rattlesnake Republic now? Although Bibby isn’t the only snake hunter featured on the series, he is probably the most entertaining character. While the other hunters cruse around in rugged pick-up trucks looking for snakes, Bibby rides in his signature Cadillac hearse. On the show, Bibby is very charismatic, and obviously has a true love for his dangerous profession.
Since the amputation, the 61 year old Bibby stated that he will continue to hunt snakes and perform. Hopefully, Jackie Bibby comes through his rehabilitation successfully, and is able to go about living a normal life. However, I personally think it would be wise if he left the snake industry alone. Then again, I’m not him, nor do I ever plan on handing or being around with any rattlesnakes. I initially didn’t care much for the show Rattlesnake Republic, however, it should be interesting to see how the show will be following Bibby’s life changing accident.