Middlesboro snake-handling pastor bitten months after father's death

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - Months after a snake bite killed his father, Bell County snake-handling pastor Cody Coots is now recovering from a snake bite.

The 21-year-old took over as pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro following the death of his father, Pastor Jamie Coots. Coots died in February from a snake bite during a church service.

Cody Coots was not in church when his bite happened. He was at his home in Middlesboro. He says he was cleaning snake cages on Monday morning when a six foot rattlesnake bit his right hand.

"When he struck out and hit me, it hurt immediately. Once I seen blood and felt pain, I knew I was hurt," Cody Coots said.

Coots uses the snakes in services at his church. He took over as pastor in February following his father's death from a snake bite.

I was really scared at first. I was thinking, oh God, dad just died. I hope and pray I'm not going to die here in a few minutes. It was a pretty big deal to me. I was a little worried," Coots said.

He refused medical treatment and says he made it to a recliner chair in his home and has barely moved since then. He says church members came to the home and prayed over him.

He suffered swelling and vomiting and his legs still tingle, but he says he feels fine now.

"Everybody come here and started praying for me, and today I'm doing great," Coots said.

Coots has suffered snake bites before but he says those were cottonmouths and this is the first time a rattler bit him.

He says he will keep the snake and will continue handling them in church, just like his father.

"It won't stop me from doing what I believe. It didn't shake me. It scared me but it didn't shake me, so we'll still pack them in the Lord's will," said Coots.

He plans to bring the snakes to Wednesday night's services.

Last year, the National Geographic channel featured the Coots family in the reality show Snake Salvation.

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