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

Veteran's Day Special
Wilderness Experience Helps Army Vet Adjust to Life After War
Wilderness Experience Helps Army Vet Adjust to Life After War
Veteran's Day Special
Wilderness Experience Helps Army Vet Adjust to Life After War
Meet Thomas Weinheimer, an army veteran whose 53-day wilderness experience on a North Carolina trail helped ease his transition back to civilian life.

Meet Thomas Weinheimer, an army veteran whose 53-day wilderness experience on a North Carolina trail helped ease his transition back to civilian life.

Fixing Justice
F*ck a False Arrest: How to Get out of Jail Free in NYC
F*ck a False Arrest: How to Get out of Jail Free in NYC
Watch Now
Fixing Justice
F*ck a False Arrest: How to Get out of Jail Free in NYC
Good Call NYC Fights Bad Policing With a Free Lawyer Hotline: 1-833-3-GOODCALL
Watch Now

Late at night on the NYC Subway, he was arrested for the heinous crime...of not having a working subway ticket. Fortunately, he had an ace in the hole - 1-833-3-GOODCALL (1-833-346-6322), New York City’s free lawyer hotline. In America we all have the right to a lawyer. But news flash: not everyone can afford one, and even fewer have a number memorized for the legendary “one phone call” you get when you’re arrested. Now,...

Catalysts
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Watch Now
Catalysts
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Take a look inside a town built for foster families
Watch Now

Peppers Ranch is a community of a dozen families raising at least five foster kids. Is it a model for providing better foster care to more kids? In this episode of Catalysts, we visit Peppers Ranch and meet some of the people and families who call it home. We talk to foster child Scott, who was close to aging out of foster care but unprepared to live on his own. We also meet Tonya Ratcliff, a mother of 13 children who felt...

Catalysts
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
Watch Now
Catalysts
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
He turned a food truck for the homeless into a thriving 51-acre community.
Watch Now

Mobile Loaves & Fishes is an organization with a new approach to tackling homelessness - putting community first. Their Community First! Village provides affordable, long-term housing for the chronically homeless. They find through housing and a community that emphasizes respect and relationships, chronically homeless individuals are able to finally heal from trauma and begin to thrive, work, and live better lives....

Relentless
This Fearless Principal Used UFC & Skateboards to Save a Failing School
This Fearless Principal Used UFC & Skateboards to Save a Failing School
Watch Now
Relentless
This Fearless Principal Used UFC & Skateboards to Save a Failing School
How one relentless, unconventional principal rallied an underdog school.
Watch Now

Hamish Brewer, the unconventional principal of Fred Lynn Middle School, went viral and won praise for his work turning the school around. But can he rally the school to the next huge milestone - regaining accreditation? Since moving from New Zealand to the United States, tattooed, skateboarding principal Hamish Brewer has helped inspire teachers and students at lower-income schools to smash people’s expectations. After his...

Dispatches
Why We Need a Universal Flu Vaccine
Why We Need a Universal Flu Vaccine
Dispatches
Why We Need a Universal Flu Vaccine
Two scientists explain why the flu is still such a problem, a century after it killed 50 million people — and what...
By Ian Setliff and Amyn Murji

Two scientists explain why the flu is still such a problem, a century after it killed 50 million people — and what we can do stop it.

Dispatches
Is a "Global Village" a Pandemic Waiting to Happen?
Is a "Global Village" a Pandemic Waiting to Happen?
Dispatches
Is a "Global Village" a Pandemic Waiting to Happen?
New research suggests that our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.

New research suggests that our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.

Teaser of The Hidden Side of “Slum” Life
Teaser of The Hidden Side of “Slum” Life
Watch Now
Teaser of The Hidden Side of “Slum” Life
One of the most significant transformations in humankind is underway but largely going untold.
Watch Now

One of the most significant transformations in humankind is underway but largely going untold. Fueled by advances in technology and innovation, global poverty has been slashed in half over the last decade with predictions that it will be eradicated over the next. From makeshift cities to smart phones to water purification to the blockchain, join us as we travel the world to see firsthand how entrepreneurship is lifting...

Culture
How a Sci-Fi Enthusiast Decided to Memorialize His Best Friend
How a Sci-Fi Enthusiast Decided to Memorialize His Best Friend
Culture
How a Sci-Fi Enthusiast Decided to Memorialize His Best Friend
The story of how one man gave his space-loving best friend a final resting place in the final frontier.
By Mike Riggs

The story of how one man gave his space-loving best friend a final resting place in the final frontier.