WATCH: Biologist gets python to bite him for wacky TV show

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 1 October 2019

History channel’s new eight-episode series ‘Kings of Pain’ follows two wildlife experts as they travel from the remote jungles of Bolivia, the Amazon and Indonesia to the beaches of Bali, South Africa, Mexico and Baja California getting stung and bitten by deadly wildlife.

Wildlife biologist Adam Thorn and professional animal handler Rob ‘Caveman’ Alleva get bitten and stung by creatures including the Nile monitor lizard, executioner wasp, fire urchin, rove beetle, lionfish, scorpionfish, bullet ant, piranha, tarantula hawk, giant Asian centipede and the reticulated python – all in the name of science.

The pair want to create a complete and comprehensive pain index that will be used as an educational tool showcasing which creatures humans should avoid and what to do in the event they do get bitten or stung.

The preview above shows biologist Adam Thorn, wearing face protection getting, bitten by a six-foot reticulated python. Although pythons are not venomous, they constrict their prey, they can inflict fairly serious wounds with their fangs.

An onsite medic is present who monitors the health and well-being of both men during each episode and describes to viewers exactly what physical and physiological effects each bite and/or sting is creating within their bodies.

How the idea of a pain index began

In 1983 entomologist Dr. Justin O. Schmidt began ranking stinging insects on a scale from 1-4, putting himself in harm’s way for science creating the Schmidt sting pain index and authoring the book The Sting of The Wild.

‘Insect and other venoms work magic, and, in a sense, pain makes the world go around as it lets all organisms know that something is wrong or dangerous and needs to be acted upon,’ said Schmidt.

“Rob and Adam are taking the concept of pain and my original pain scale to a higher realm with some of the most impressive stinging and pain-inducing animals we’ve ever seen. In the process, they are advancing our knowledge of pain and the human experience and ultimately we are going to learn so much from this.”

Thorn and Alleva are taking Schmidt’s pain index even further adding venomous bites and more deadly creatures and ranking them on a 30-point scale with new categories including intensity, duration and damage.

Their goal is to create history’s most comprehensive guide to measuring pain. In addition, they will be consulting with Schmidt as they build this new pain index that is completely new to science.

The eight-episode, one-hour series premieres Tuesday, 12 November on History.

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