Michael Delaney is a man of many talents. He runs a ranch, he owns a surveillance company, and he’s a YouTube sensation. In October 2015 Michael and his wife, Katie, set out to observe a rattlesnake pit located roughly half a mile from the family ranch. Michael had visited it many times in his youth, captured rattlesnakes for science fair projects, and recorded them for his own personal interest.
On this day, as he and Katie made the trek to the snakes’ den, Michael brought along a GoPro camera, equipped with a stabilizing device and attached to a hockey stick.
As the couple neared the pit, the rattles began to sound. Michael slowly extended the hockey stick outward, capturing footage of all the snakes slithering about. In the past he had seen bull snakes, gardeners, and other species but today it was nothing but rattlers, dozens and dozens of rattlers.
Michael continued to scan the camera over the territorial snakes and one by one, they began to lash out. Quickly striking, their attacks jolted the camera until finally, one snake knocked the GoPro off the hockey stick, right into the middle of the den! The rattlers began to swarm it.
Michael was now left with the task of retrieving the camera using only the hockey stick. “I was a little nervous about getting it back, but more than anything, I was trying to be aware of where all the snakes were around me, as well as where they were in relation to Katie,” he says.
Michael and Katie had only been married about a week at this point, and Katie thought that it was much too soon to be having to drag her husband to the hospital; she asked Michael to leave the camera. But Michael had been around the snakes his whole life, and although he was nervous, he knew that if he used caution, he could safely retrieve the expensive camera from the snake pit.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about rattlesnakes,” says Michael. “They do not chase people; they are merely trying to protect themselves. The rattle noise may be disturbing, but it is our best method of avoiding them.”
Batting the camera slowly toward himself, Michael was able to safely retrieve the GoPro. Afterward, he uploaded the incredible footage to YouTube and it currently has over 10 million views. Titled “GoPro falls into pit of Rattlesnakes”, the video quickly became famous, appearing on late night talk shows and National Geographic Channel’s “Animals Gone Wild”.
Michael is humble about the experience but understands the intrigue. “Not a lot changed for me after I uploaded the video but everyone I run into talks to me about it,” he says.