Brian Barczyk venom hunters

Discovery Channel’s VENOM HUNTERS! Q&A With Star & Michigan Native Brian Barczyk!




The Discovery Channel has a crazy new show about snaaakkesss. It’s called Venom Hunters, and it follows different teams of snake professionals as they go out into remote areas and catch venomous snakes WITH THEIR BARE HANDS. o_O Venomous snakes kill over 100,000 people a year. And in most cases, once you’re bitten, you only have 30 MINS TO AN HOUR to get to a hospital and get anti-venom. THAT’S where the Venom Hunters come in. Oddly enough, the same venom that can kill you, is used to make anti-venom. But worldwide supplies of anti-venom are low, so a few steady-handed no-fux-given professionals have to go out into the field and catch venomous snakes for us.

Venom Hunters airs on the Discovery Channel every Wednesday at 10pm EST. The second episode airs TONIGHT, Wednesday February 24th. I watched the first episode last night, and had about 19 heart attacks. I watch horror movies ALL the time, and I barely jump. I’m telling you right now I YELLED out loud like 5 times while watching this show. There are SO many close calls, and tense moments. And JUST when you think it’s over.. snake’s in the bag, we’re good! Ohhhh guess again, they have to get back and MILK that same pissed off snake. In one scene a Venom Hunter is milking a Western Diamondback, and I swear the thing’s head was the size of a baseball.


Western Diamondback Aaron Jones

Western Diamondback – Photo by Aaron Jones


After all is said and done, they show you on the screen how many milligrams of venom were collected, and how many individual lives that specimen will save. That must be the COOLEST feeling.

Another super interesting thing the show taught me is that when a rattlesnake’s rattle gets wet, you can’t hear it! *AGH!* ..Soooo TRAVEL TIP: Just because you can’t hear it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.






Growing up I had a ton of pets.. We had a California Kingsnake, a Pac Man frog, a Fire-Bellied toad, Newts, Anoles, the list goes on… So I’ve never been scared. I saw in your video on your reptile obsession started at age 2. Do you think having pets so young contributed to you being so calm around them? How did it all start?

The funny thing was although I was obsessed with all animals, and in particular snakes, I never was allowed to keep any. I didn’t have my first pet until I was 15 years old. I caught wild snakes each summer and kept them in the garage until I had to release them each fall. Not sure what was in me that caused me to be so obsessed. It was never anything that anyone taught me. No friends had reptiles and no family even had any pet at all. I just was born with an animal lovers gene 🙂


Brian Barczyk venom hunters

Brian Barczyk – Photo by Aaron Jones



I remember our California King had a perfect smiley face on the back of his head. Just from markings or color alone, what would you say is your favorite snake? You can pick more than one if it’s too hard. ;)

I can never pick just one. It’s like asking a parent of three who their favorite child is. I love them all and I just never can choose a favorite.



I think it would be news to most Michiganders that the 3rd largest snake collection in the world is located here, and you own/run it! I’m actually shocked that I live so close to it and didn’t even know. Can anyone visit BHB Reptiles? Do any or all of these 30,000+ snakes have pet names?

We are not open to the public, although we are always happy to show people around when we have time. Unfortunately I travel a ton and when I’m at my HQ I am usually extremely busy. So as much as I love showing people around and just talking reptile I sadly don’t have as much time as I used to.



So the point of Venom Hunters is to follow talented teams who professionally collect snake venom to make anti-venom. I gotta ask, what variety of snake is typically the nicest/most cooperative, and which variety is typically a total cranky pants.

Yes, the idea is to follow us and three other teams on our journey to catch venomous snakes and provide venom for antivenin and medical research. I really don’t look at any snake as mean or cranky, but certainly Discovery sent me and Chewy to deal with the most challenging snakes which are the Australian Elapids. In particular the Coastal Taipan is a really sketchy snake to handle. It was a ton of fun and very energizing!



Paws Buzz Go is all about traveling. Where are some of your favorite places to travel, in the U.S? Outside the U.S?

I call myself a Digital Nomad because I travel constantly and tweet about every adventure. To me sharing my journeys makes them more memorable. Not everyone has been blessed to travel the world and I want to share those experiences with those that have to follow on their couch. I have so many special places that I have been. Really every trip is amazing to me. I have a special affinity to Australia and have been 9 times. Fogg Dam in Darwin Australia is one of my favorite places on the planet, but I also have fond memories of KZN South Africa. There’s really no place like Africa. Something primal about it….



Favorite bars/restaurants? One of my top 3 favorite bars on earth is out by you, it’s called Hilltop. Pleeeaassee say you’ve been there.

I’m not a drinker and I don’t spend a ton of time in bars, but certainly a few bars in Amsterdam have been memorable. Just knowing that Jimmy Hendrix or James Morrison hung at that same place many years ago makes the experience that much more awesome. But the majority of my travel is in search of adventure and I try to find that in rural places. My favorite restaurant is Emilia’s in the Bronx… Their pasta is to die for!



Aside from all your kids at BHB Reptiles, do you have your own pets? Dogs, Cats, Snakes.. What are their names, and do they have any crazy habits?

I have a husky named Artemis and a Black German Shepard named Zeus that come with me to work each and everyday. I love my pups! I don’t keep other animals at home because honestly I am rarely there and it wouldn’t be far to keep animals and not be able to pay them attention. I am constantly traveling to find animal adventure or just visit others animals. I’m writing back from Chicago right now where I’m heading to see reptiles at a cool reptile convention.


Brian Barczyk dogs



Favorite tattoo, and who did it? You can pick more than one tattoo if you want, I have like 5 favorites ;)

I am working on being covered in a animal theme. I have my entire right arm and half my chest done already. My right side is all African animals and my left side will be Australian animals. All of them have been done by Bob Tyrrell, the black and grey legend. Eventually, I’ll use another artist, but for my arms and chest I’ll only use Bob. →  @bobtyrrell


Bob Tyrrell animal tattoo


Bob Tyrrell animal tattoo



And lastly, anything coming up besides Venom Hunters that you’d like people to check out? Here’s your chance to say whatever you want!

I have been doing a web series called SnakeBytesTV for nine years. I also run an online animal network called AnimalBytesTV. I have a wildlife doc coming out about an African animal adventure called Brian in the Wild. I’ll be in a show called I Wanna Be on Nickelodeon about mentoring kids. Plus several other projects in the works including a new online animal network called Animal Alliance where we will manage YouTube channels that are about animals. And of course I am always FaceBook, Tweeting and Gramming everything. So follow me on this amazing journey!





Brian Barczyk/SnakeBytesTV  •  Facebook  •  Instagram  •  Twitter  •  YouTube

Discovery Channel  •  Instagram  •  Twitter

Bob Tyrrell Tattoo  •  Website  •  Instagram

Aaron Jones Photog Extraordinaire  •  Instagram

Paws Buzz Go!  •  Instagram  •  Facebook



Brian Barczyk venom hunters



Paws Buzz GO!

2 feet. 4 paws. 1 car.

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