Dare we say it...spring might almost be here! And as we all know...with spring comes reptile season here in Ohio, which means our quest to capture a new World Record Snapping Turtle is soon to begin again!
Exciting times ahead...but we are sure that the real news everyone wants to hear about is our recent expedition to Costa Rica where Coyote Peterson and The Reptilian Enthusiast Gang took on some of the most dangerous environments and creatures imaginable.
To give you a very quick synopsis of how this all came about...we were introduced to a herpetologist, venom and animal expert named Donald Schultz. (pictured below doing business in the vicinity of a seriously monster sized Crocodile) A fearless leader, Donald is also a film and television producer, who has hosted or produced numerous series for some of the major networks including Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Two of his most recent endevors were 2010's Wild Recon, which aired on Animal Planet and Speed of Life, which aired on Discovery. Both series were incredibly successful and really set the bar for what animal television programs are becoming.
We were fortunate enough to be given the chance to work with Donald for a week in Costa Rica, where he would be producing and directing for us a reel of footage that will be used to showcase our ideas of "The Reptile Show" to some of the major networks. This was a once in a life time opportunity to work with someone who is both at the top of their field and game when it comes to producing wildlife television programing...so Coyote and the gang pulled out all the stops and in a week's time, with the help of our incredible sponsors, ambitious investors and supportive friends and family, we hopped a plane to Costa Rica and set off on the adventure of a lifetime.
Check out Donald's website to learn more about his amazing journeys, animal encounters and conservation efforts:
And check out the official Animal Planet link for his hit show Wild Recon:
For confidentiality and legal purposes of our early developments with the networks we cannot release too much information or too many pictures from the Costa Rican expedition. This adventure was something far different than anything The Reptile Show team has done in the past...but in the grand scheme of things...this was truly our first shot at the big time. Enjoy the sneak peeks!
We will of course keep everyone posted and hopefully when the reel is finalized we will be able to share it with everyone. The journey was difficult...the animals dangerous and the environments...including a rouge tsunami wave that took out Coyote...were near deadly.
Coyote was thrown in front of the bus several times on this adventure...we sure weren't in Ohio anymore! Facing all of these creatures and scenarios for the very first time was incredible. It was an adrenaline rush like none other, and the taste of how expansive our visions for The Reptile Show will hopefully become has pushed the team to work harder than ever as this summer's expeditions and filming approach.
If you thought our work with Snapping Turtles was crazy...wait till you see footage of Coyote in the water with a 15 foot American Crocodile! Some of the other animals we encountered or had the opportunity to film with included Spectacled Caimans, Komodo Dragons, Boa Constrictors, Fer De Lance Snakes, Poison Dart Frogs, Scorpions, Golden Orb Spiders, Coatimundis, Red Eyed Tree Frogs, Giant Cane Toads, adorable Kinkajous, Sloths, more creepy crawlies then you dare to imagine, Crazy Costa Rican Farmers with hand guns, Rogue Tsunami Waves and much much more. It was 5 days of production filled with insanity!
Here are some pretty awesome behind the scenes moments/pictures from the adventure!
Literally the first animal we encountered on the trip was the American Crocodile. That head you see floating in the background may not look huge but don't be fooled, it belongs to a 9 foot crocodile...it was pretty nerve wracking to watch Coyote get within striking range of the most prehistoric creatures on the planet...
Like a muscle built missile, these beasts can lunge from the water with lightning speed. Armed with razor sharp teeth lining jaws backed with thousands of pounds of pressure, they snap down, crush, and drag their prey backward into the water for a miserable drowning death. We still had 5 days of filming ahead of us and being eaten on day one would have been bad news!
Not everything was always as dangerous as Crocodiles. This Giant Gray Tree Frog was discovered our first morning filming in the jungle just outside of base camp...pretty cool how his camouflage looks like Coyote's face. Not sure if that is a good or a bad thing for the frog...or for Coyote!
While we're on the topic of things that are cute...take a look at this little dandy...and no we're not referring to Mud Man Mark Vins seen in the background of this picture.
That is the Golden Orb Spider...and they were everywhere in the jungle...even right outside of our Villas. These spiders are some of the biggest in the world and have actually been known to eat birds and lizards. Not someone whose web you want to get tangled up in!
There were Scorpions of all sorts.
More geckos than we could possibly catch.
Giant Cane Toads who absolutely loved to pee all over the place.
Kinkajous...which are kind of like monkey, bear, mongoose things...that love to eat nectar from flowers, or in this case Shady Brady Hats!
And of course... it didn't take long for Coyote to find the jungle mud and slime to jump around in.
This segment was particularly heart racing to film. Look in the lower right corner- that is the Fer De Lance...the most common pit viper in Central America and also the snake responsible for the most deaths in the country. This serpent was over 5 feet in length, as big around as a leg and had fangs long enough to go through a grown man's arm. A single bite can inflict enough venom to kill several people so the crew was on edge and using the utmost care while we worked with this incredible specimen.
This segment was a little safer...that is Boa Constrictor, about 6 feet in length, not big enough to strangle a man but still an awesome catch. This segment was filmed at the base of a waterfall in the jungle and Mr. Constrictor was none too happy to be handled. While this species is nonvenomous, they can still inflict a pretty good bite with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. We got some killer slow motion shots of the snake lunging at Coyote's face!
That is the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, the staple amphibian of central america...and everyone's favorite Costa Rican spokesman. This little guy was encountered just after the Boa incident and it was a great change of pace to work with something that didn't want to bite or squeeze the life out of you.
Probably the coolest catch of the expedition was this guy. A 3.5 foot Crocodile, tracked down at night using a method called spotlighting, and wrangled bare hands style by Coyote from the waters of The Tarcoles River. Earlier in the evening we filmed with some of his big brothers and sisters, true prehistoric monsters, one of which was easily 15 feet in length. A Croc that big can easily kill and eat a human so trying for a capture of an animal like that with only a small crew on hand was far too risky for this trip. The up-close and personal experience we had with this junior sized specimen ended up being the perfect ending to a night of dangerous reptiles. Probably one of the coolest segments we have ever filmed...and YES...it did feel exactly like you would imagine a dinosaur to!
While many of the animals we encountered were dangerous and deadly...it was actually mother nature that did the most damage on this adventure. While filming on a breaker near the Pacific Ocean Coyote was actually struck by a rogue tsunami wave drugged up from the quake in Japan and dragged down nearly 30 feet of jagged rock and coral. The team was unaware of tsunami like wave warnings that were issued earlier that day...had we known...there is no way we would have ever been near the water. The wave was literally about 20 feet over Coyote's head, and after taking him out...it unleashed its wrath, over 100 feet away, on the camera team. Thankfully the crew wasn't injured and Coyote's wounds were not major.
He suffered lacerations and punctures to the arms, legs and hands with some massive internal bruising, also known as hematomas, to the foot and left shin...if its believable no stitches and no broken bones! Like the famous Wile E. Coyote our adventurer was back to his usual tricks in no time flat, and an hour after the incident was filming with a Komodo Dragon. Which we must add...hunts by the smell of blood...this was truly one of those brilliant moments of danger!
Fun and reptiles aside, the real lesson to be learned from this was that no matter how careful you are when planning to film a sequence, there are always going to be factors you cannot control. Mother Nature does not follow a call sheet...Coyote and the production team learned that the wet and rocky way.
Realistically it was probably the closest call we have ever had to someone getting seriously injured...thankfully Coyote is recovering just fine and will be in top shape for all of his normal acrobatics and The Reptile Show events this spring!
Costa Rica was one heck of an adventure for our team. We can't thank everyone who got us there enough...and can't express in words how grateful we are for Donald's help and guidance, along with his support team in Costa Rica and all of the wonderful people we met on this excursion. You are too many to name but you all know who you are!
An extra big shout out goes to The Outdoor Source...one of our local Columbus based sponsors for all of the first aid gear they sent on the trip...without those kits, which we used every last bandage, blood clotter, and antiseptic from...there would have been a lot more Coyote lost on the beach after the tsunami incident! If you want the best survival first aid gear possible...check out their goods at this website!
As things develop we will keep everyone posted. For Coyote Peterson and The Reptilian Enthusiast Gang our plans for this summer press forward...there will be monster Snapping Turtles and all sorts of Reptiles and Amphibians to be caught...and yes...there will be mud!
No Nets...No Traps...No PROBLEM!
This...is The Reptile Show!