Michigan icon, Brian Barczyk, who was a world-famous reptile expert followed by millions online and who starred in the reality TV show “Venom Hunters”, succumbed to pancreatic cancer this past weekend. Born and raised in Southeast Michigan, spent decades commercially breeding and selling snakes, even having celebrity clientele like Slash, the guitarist for Guns N’ Roses.
Brian, who would often go by “Just that animal guy from ‘The Reptarium’ in Utica, Michigan”, first gained notoriety back in 2008 with the launch of his first YouTube channel, SnakeBytesTV. The videos’ cheerful nature and informative how-to approach struck a chord with viewers and eventually, his personal YouTube Channel grew to a total of over five million followers with some videos obtaining over 30 million views, while that may sound like a lot, on his TikTok Brian managed to accumulate over 7 million followers where he posted clips that got as many as 139 million views!
It’s said that Brian Barczyk’s passion for reptiles began as a child and bloomed from there, with one of his first core memories coming from seeing a ball python at the Belle Isle Aquarium, right here in Detroit. From that point on he was hooked, even stating “I remember that like it was yesterday, and ever since, I’ve just been obsessed,” in an interview withHollywood Soapbox in 2016. “No one taught me this obsession. I always tell people, I was born with a reptile gene because it’s just in me. I spent every summer catching garter snakes out in the local woods.”
Brian leaves behind an incredible legacy regarding the promotion of awareness and understanding of an incredibly long list of reptiles, in addition to The Reptarium and his incredibly popular social media channels, Brian’s legacy will also live on with his wife, Lori Barczyk, and his two children, Noah and Jade. To be able to honor Brian Barczyk’s memory and the impact that he’s had on the Michigan community his family, friends, and supporters are encouraging locals to pay a visit to The Reptarium this weekend.