A 21-year-old Christian snake handler says he is recovering without anti-venom from a poisonous rattlesnake bite—the same set of circumstances that killed his father just a few months ago.
Cody Coots said he was bitten while removing snakes from a cage on Monday. Instead of accepting treatment from an ambulance crew, he prayed that the wound would heal.
At first, his hand swelled up and he could not keep food down.
"All I could think about — am I going to make it?" Coots told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
By the next day, Coots said, the pain was gone and he could eat. He said he thinks he will be well enough to return to work in a few days.
"For a rattler bite, it wasn't bad at all,” Coots said.
Coots has been bitten five times previously. He is a fourth-generation snake handler. His father, pastor Jamie Coots, died of a snakebite in February.
The elder Coots was handling three rattlers at a Saturday night service when one of them struck. Although the 42-year-old pastor had been bitten several times before, on that particular night the venom proved too strong. Refusing medical treatment, he was dead in 90 minutes.
The younger Coots took over his father’s post as pastor of Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, Kentucky.
The snakes will be back for the next round of services, Coots says.
"If the Lord moves, we'll handle'm," he said. "It's the word of the Lord."