By Jasmine Kazlauskas
A daredevil dad has shocked millions online after he risked his own life to save one of the most venomous snakes in the world from being killed.
Jesse Hesseling, 28, has always had a passion for reptiles which has seen him handle hundreds of different snakes in his lifetime.
The animal lover from Coopernook, New South Wales, Australia, said he will always do whatever he can to help animals – even if that means extremely close and dangerous encounters with some of the world’s deadliest creatures.
The dad-of-two’s dedication to nature has since gone viral after a video posted online showed him fearlessly grabbing a venomous red-bellied black snake from the water after he realised it was going to be killed by an oncoming boat – with the clip racking up over one million views.
While snakes can swim, construction worker Jesse said the oncoming boat that was speeding up the river would have easily ‘ripped him to pieces’, so he took matters into his own hands – literally.
In the spine-tingling footage shot last month [JAN 12], Jesse can be seen holding the squirmy serpent just inches away from his body to narrowly avoid being bitten until he released it back on land.
He said: “My friends and I were out on the river for the day on our boat just going up and down the river.
“We were about to go home, and we were coming down the river and I noticed this snake swimming in the water.
“There was a boat speeding up and I knew it was going to run over this poor snake as they wouldn’t have been able to see it.
“I just couldn’t let that happen. I really feared for the snake’s safety and I didn’t want to see it chopped up because I’m a huge animal lover.
“So, I just reached down and grabbed him out of the water. I didn’t even really think about it, it was pure instinct.
“I knew it was a deadly snake straight away and understood the dangers behind their bite.
“But I had to save it. I’ve grown up in the country and have dealt with all different animals my entire life.
“It’s Australia. We have to deal with this stuff on a daily basis.
“I was extremely excited, as it was a beautiful snake. My adrenaline was definitely kicking in.
“My friend was completely freaking out as he thought it could bite. But I knew it was going to be okay.
“The snake was a bit irritated and fiery, but that’s to be expected when someone is picking you up out of the water like that.
“It was an unforgettable experience for me. I’m just so happy the snake didn’t get killed.”
According to Australian Geographic, red-bellied black snakes are not particularly aggressive and will escape from humans if possible, but when threatened will flatten their bodies and hiss loudly.
And although they can kill, no recent deaths have been confirmed from their bites, although their venom can cause a blood-clotting disorder as well as muscle and nerve damage.
Jesse said that although his partner Emmah, 23, is proud of his wildlife warrior ways, she also gets anxious whenever he tells her about one of his close encounters.
He added: “I’d never recommended anyone to pick up a wild snake for any reason.
“I’d never let my kids near snakes, but I’ll teach them to respect their space and not to fear or hate them.
“My partner is a lover of animals too. But she does worry a lot when I get a bit too close to some of them, especially the more dangerous ones.
“But she has been with me for so long, and I think she realises now it’s just part of who I am, and she loves me for it.”
Jesse added that although this was the first time he had caught a snake from the water, he is no stranger to picking up snakes in the wild if he comes across one that needs help.
He said: “I’m extremely passionate about animals and I’ll try and save them whenever I can.
“I’ll always pick up a snake if it’s in the middle of the road in danger of being run over by a car.
“Snakes can get ticks, so if I see one that’s suffering from them, I’ll pick it up and get some tweezers to pluck them all off its body.
“They don’t like being handled but I know it’s worth it because it’s giving the snake another chance at life.
“They receive a lot of hate and it makes my blood boil. There is this attitude that the only good snake is a dead snake.
“Even the deadliest snakes in the world would rather avoid you than attack you.”