Call of the Wildman show staged snake appearance? (UPDATE: Staged)

There is an update to this story so we are reposting it. Please see the UPDATE below.

Originally posted June 7, 2013 10:33 AM

Unreal reality TV strikes again.

Snake expert says “Turtleman” show staged cottonmouth scene.

It’s a frightening discovery, venomous snakes found in and around a community pool. That’s what Ernie Brown Jr., famously known as “Turtleman”, found during an episode of his popular show Call of the Wildman, which runs on Animal Planet

The show aired Sunday night but now some experts are questioning if it was staged. The director of The Kentucky Reptile Zoo says what viewers witnessed may have been entertaining, but he says it wasn’t entirely accurate.

During the season two premier Turtleman came face to face with two cottonmouths at the Danville community pool. But snake expert Jim Harrison says there’s no way those snakes should have been there in the first place.

“Cottonmouths are not found east of The Jackson Purchase, basically they’re in Western Kentucky,” Harrison said.

As a result, Harrison says he has been receiving calls about whether to be concerned about the snake. This IRRITATES the heck out of me. He makes a very good point when he notes that he is concerned that kids see these shows and imitate the animal handlers.

This is MANUFACTURED drama. There is zero justification for believing anything on reality TV is real – it is scripted, staged and manipulated to some degree. The problem lies not only with the show’s production but with the portion of the audience who can not seem to distinguish fact from fiction and fail to think critically about an entertainment program. The networks don’t make that part easy.

Animal Planet just can’t do anything right these days. They get a giant F for accuracy. Of course, they deny they staged it. Yeah, right. And mermaids are real…

Credibility is shot.

UPDATE (27-June-2013) Many of the comments were suspicious that this was staged, but indeed it was and they are in trouble for it. Put this show out of its misery. This is irresponsible and dumb.

Report: Turtleman TV show faked a snake in Danville pool; filming wasn't approved | DidUCit? | Kentucky.com.

A new report says:

The city parks department failed to obtain required approvals to film an episode of Animal Planet’s Wildman at the public pool where a poisonous snake was released and then captured by Kentucky’s “Turtleman,” a new report said.

The report also concluded that the snakes were brought into the pool area, accompanied by a medic, and then were captured by Brown. The show left viewers with the impression that one snake was found in the pool and that others were on the property.

Tip: Andrew Webster

  23 comments for “Call of the Wildman show staged snake appearance? (UPDATE: Staged)

  1. June 7, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    The worst part is that the snake was only paid union scale.

  2. Brewhogg
    June 7, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    What proof does Harrison have to show the snakes were planted? There are not supposed to be any snakes in Hawaii, but periodically a snake is discovered. I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility that some snake lover brought these snakes from Western, KY to Danville, KY, got tired of taking care of them, and released them into the wild. Before we slam this show and call it fake lets see some evidence.

    • June 7, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      The choices are that the snake has now expanded its habitat or a reality show is faked. We do have a good case for the latter. It’s easier to believe than the former, I’d say.

  3. June 7, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    So some careless *** released not one, but two venomous snakes near a public facility that especially attracts children? Sounds like someone needs to be arrested for endangerment.

    Or, we can use common sense, and take the knowledge that reality shows are more scripted than real, as well as know that creating the sensationalism that sells so well on television would require planting not one, but two venomous snakes in public facility where one is almost never seen.

    It has been done again and again, and though redundancy is far from proof, it’s still a pretty solid indicator.

  4. cwart
    June 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    The area in KY where the cottonmouths are found naturally is about 200 miles and there’s not a really solid connection by water between the two. I’m going to have to vote for staged as well. I don’t see them showing up there naturally and I really don’t want to go with the idea that someone released them where they might take up residence in a public pool.

  5. Brewhogg
    June 7, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Animal Planet flat out denied the snakes were brought to the pool. Usually when a reality show gets caught faking a scene the network issues a statement saying some scenes may be recreated from actual experiences or offers some other vague excuse for getting caught. If a snake can make it 2500 miles to Hawaii in an airplane, then I believe it is entirely possible these two snakes made it 200 miles to the pool. If Turtleman caught a polar bear in the pool, then yeah, I would say it is a bit more than likely the scene was faked. However, calling someone a fake, without any evidence, over an incident that seems entirely possible, seems unfair to me. This is Turtleman’s career/job/profession and calling him a fake is a serious accusation. BTW, I can’t believe I am defending someone called Turtleman.

  6. Pete Formaini
    June 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    There is no such thing as ‘reality television’. The minute people are aware a camera is present, everything is staged and acted.

    I cannot fathom the mentality of people who watch this garbage.

  7. Phil
    June 8, 2013 at 6:13 AM

    Snakes aren’t native to Hawaii. Not the same as there are no snakes there,

  8. June 9, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    Even Hawaii has had problems in the past with new species being introduced to the islands, either on purpose or accidentally, which is why they’ve become a lot more careful in recent years These things do happen. And KY, is a lot less remote than Hawaii.

    With or without human intervention, accidental or otherwise, I don’t think that it’s outside the realm of possibility that this wasn’t staged. That doesn’t mean that I think that’s probable because I don’t know. But odder things have happened. I think we should stay skeptical but be ready to change our minds if more evidence arises.

  9. RDW
    June 9, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Are there any religious snake handlers in the vicinity ?? They could have escaped or been released by someone like that. On the other hand, as was stated, this is the guys “job”, so in my opinion, that makes it MORE likely that this might have been staged. After all, he has income to lose or gain based on how “interesting” this show is. Of course this is all speculation on my part, and isn’t based on evidence. I just hope it doesn’t result in needless slaughter of snakes. They help to control rodent population and Lyme disease. I’ve seen people kill non-venomous Fishing Snakes, thinking they were water moccasins, when there was no such creature within a hundred of miles. The problem with such shows is that they encourage ignorance to flourish, when what is needed most are cold, hard, facts.

  10. Michele
    June 19, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    I admit having thought that the scenes involving critters other than turtles must be staged at times but to any one who couldn’t believe some one would let at least 2 venomous snakes loose near a public pool, you give many people more credit than they are due. Some one could have released them with out even thinking about what was near by or thinking they wouldn’t travel that far or live that long. Or they could have belonged to one of those “serpent” handling churches and got loose during a sermon. People do things with out considering, or even caring about, the consequences. People also get careless, especially when they are in a loud, busy place (like a church service with people dancing with venomous snakes while singing hymns). As far as kids trying to catch wild animals after watching….. I’d rather they be influenced by a show like Turtleman’s than by the violence packed shows and video games that are so popular.

  11. Rachel
    June 25, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    I personally know an individual who works at another popular Kentucky location that was used for the filming of a Turtleman episode. The episode their was staged as well. It involved a fox needing rescued or taken from a building/barn. At that location the management caught wind that they were going to stage an ‘infestation’ in one of their buildings (again this is a popular Kentucky location where people stay overnight) and they told him absolutely not they would not allow anything that could damage the reputation of the location.

    So yeah, this show is completely bogus.

    And the fact that not one, but two random cottonmouth snakes show up TOGETHER in a chlorinated public pool should be a dead giveaway to that anyway. Doesn’t happen.

  12. DW
    June 27, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    I am amazed that this show made it past the pilot. I do not find this man credible. Doing dangerous stunts as reality tv is stupid and trying to impress an audience with staged captures is reprehensible. He portrays himself as an expert…at what? Lying?

  13. Chris Howard
    June 27, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Reality TV is an oxymoron. Everything on television is there for entertainment value, even news, educational programming and documentaries.

  14. spookyparadigm
    June 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    “He portrays himself as an expert…at what? Lying”

    Congratulations! You’ve unlocked the Matrix code of all of television!

    Not being snarky at DW. Nor am I being all “it’s been this way forever! Haven’t you seen Network?” I agree, there has always been a bit of fraud and trickery in television (including nature documentaries. See the classic and influential staged Disney docs of the 1950s). But it is usually something of a spectrum, with some things as tricks, others actually at least having some attempts at fact checking.

    But once the economic model of reality tv took hold, the needle has been firmly buried in the “all lies, all the time” part of the meter.

  15. spookyparadigm
    June 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Actually Sharon, they are not in trouble. As the article you linked to states, the city is not going to sue. So in other words, the production company, and their costumer (the channel) were rewarded for their dangerous actions. Which means they will continue to do such things.

    The only way to make people stop doing things that can harm others, is to make them pay in either monetary damages or jail time. The mechanisms we rely on in daily life of social sanction (shame) simply do not apply once money is involved. They have to be affected where it hurts.

    • Meredith G.
      January 27, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      Actually, the USDA is looking into prosecuting. If some of the allegations are true they neglected and possibly abused threatened species while filming. At least that’s my understanding. Obviously,they’d be in a lot more trouble if people had been hurt by their actions. The “talent” is not trained to handle these animals. Someone’s bound to get hurt eventually if they’re not stopped.

  16. Douglas Boyle
    June 27, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    But what about the Mermaids!

  17. Woodswarrior
    June 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I have killed one here where I live in south eastern ky and it was in fact identified as a water mocassin, by a very reputable and professional source with fish and wildlife.

  18. Stevey
    July 8, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Uh, so what? It’s television. Nothing on television is real, not even the news. Remember when those news reporters from FOX tried to sue because the “reality” was being set aside for ratings? Yeah, well, the judge said (and rightfully so) there is no law that News or any program on television has to be real, even if the viewers believe it to be so.

    Honestly… It’s TV… a fantasy, nothing more.

    • July 8, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      Perhaps you don’t grasp that many people actually do believe if it’s on TV, it’s real. I know that is their problem but people still believe in a lot of ridiculous nonsense. That’s what this website is here for — to remind people that all is not as you see it.

  19. pantone
    December 1, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    We get cottonmouths in our yard all the time, and I’m pretty sure VA Beach is about as east as you can get.

  20. Joe
    December 4, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Every episode is staged. It drives me nutts how fake this show is.

Comments are closed.