Skip to main content
Move the World.

Enter the Kentucky Reptile Zoo—one of the largest collections of venomous reptiles in the world—and meet Jim Harrison, the man that spent his 42-year career milking King Cobras for anti-venom and saving lives across the globe. He’s a former cop, bounty hunter, and professional kickboxer - but for decades now his main focus has been extracting venom from snakes, or “snake milking.” He and his wife, Kristen Wiley, run the Kentucky Reptile Zoo--one of only a handful of facilities worldwide that harvest snake venom. It’s a critical component of making anti-venom, the antidote necessary when people around the world are bitten by venomous snakes. That desire to help save lives is what drives Jim every day as he risks his own life to handle and milk cobras, pythons, and other dangerous snakes.

In this video, we interviewed Jim Harrison and Kristen Wiley at their home in Slade, Kentucky. We take a look at the mental and physical preparation that goes into working such a dangerous job, the facility where they house thousands of snakes, and the logistics of milking snakes and producing antivenom. It’s the first episode of Freethink’s new series What it Takes, looking at weird jobs that make an impact and the curiously-inclined people who do them.

Up Next

Culture & Society
Across America, Libraries Are Fighting the Coronavirus
fighting the coronavirus
Culture & Society
Across America, Libraries Are Fighting the Coronavirus
Communities are using every resource available to fight the coronavirus. Across the country, libraries are using their resources and staff to join the battle.

Communities are using every resource available to fight the coronavirus. Across the country, libraries are using their resources and staff to join the battle.

Catalysts
This Urban Farm in Dallas Grows Financial and Social Opportunities for Residents
This Urban Farm in Dallas Grows Financial and Social Opportunities for Residents
Catalysts
This Urban Farm in Dallas Grows Financial and Social Opportunities for Residents
A once impoverished and isolated neighborhood in South Dallas is now flourishing thanks to Bonton Farms.

A once impoverished and isolated neighborhood in South Dallas is now flourishing thanks to Bonton Farms.

Building Community
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
Building Community
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with...

Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with employment barriers, whether due to prior convictions, medical concerns, poverty, homelessness, or any other issues which make gainful employment difficult.

Power of the Pack
What Wolves Can Teach Us About Human Connection
What Wolves Can Teach Us About Human Connection
Watch Now
Power of the Pack
What Wolves Can Teach Us About Human Connection
Wolves are not often thought of as therapy animals, but Wolf Connections is changing that perception while helping young people in the process.
Watch Now

Wolves are not often thought of as service animals, but Wolf Connections is changing that perception while helping troubled youth in the process. Wolf Connection is a wolf sanctuary that provides an education and empowerment program geared towards teens who are struggling through a variety of behavioral issues. At-risk youth from all walks of life learn about nature and conservation, they’re able to work through the...

Veterans
Veterans to the Rescue
Veterans to the Rescue
Watch Now
Veterans
Veterans to the Rescue
On the worst day of their lives, these veterans came to help.
Watch Now

Team Rubicon is a group of military veterans who volunteer to respond to natural disasters. They’re helping disaster victims - and helping each other heal. Many people join the military to serve their country, and still feel called to serve after they get out. In some cases, they may have experienced trauma or have PTSD from their time in the armed forces. Enter Team Rubicon, the volunteer organization that’s responded to...

Rise
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
Rise
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
There’s a global transformation happening - millions of people are migrating to cities from the countryside.
By Michael O'Shea

There’s a global transformation happening - millions of people are migrating to cities from the countryside.

Culture
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service Members with PTSD
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service Members with PTSD
Culture
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service Members with PTSD
First Sgt. Landon Jackson battled with severe PTSD and turned his experience into a 24 hour hotline that gives...
By Mike Riggs

First Sgt. Landon Jackson battled with severe PTSD and turned his experience into a 24 hour hotline that gives service members an outlet whenever they need it.