Nov. 10, 2014

Ashley Thompson
athomp13@uccs.edu

Eric Tedesco is interested in anything but the typical barnyard animals.

Tedesco spent most of his childhood on his family’s farm in Parker, Colo. with chickens, ducks, pigs, geese and cows. But now he has a strong determination to survive in nature and hunt reptiles.

Tedesco attributes his self sufficient nature to the way he was raised.

“I grew up without TV, without a computer, without anything like that,” he said. “So I would just go out and eat a bunch of ants or dig a hole with a stick.”

Tedesco takes occasional survival trips, which are camping escapades that can involve carrying only a lighter and a knife into the mountains with the end goal being only survival.

Since sleeping bags or mats are not included as necessary items, Tedesco has had to become innovative with his sleeping methods. He uses a smoke blanket to keep warm.

“You dig trenches alongside your body on either side, and make small fires all along the trenches, coals and embers really,” he said.

The small flames and the smoke blowing across your body serve not only to keep you warm, but also to keep away predators.

Tedesco has gone on solo survival trips lasting up to three weeks.

“I once survived for three days on grasshoppers and plants alone,” he said. “I’ll eat worms, grubs, grasshoppers, you name it, I’ll eat it, especially when I get hungry.”

Tedseco’s dream job would involve venomous snakes.

His interest in snakes originated from his family’s love of hunting. He quickly grew bored of traditional hunting when he learned of a pythonhunting contest in Florida.

After driving all night through the Everglades with his friend, and ultimately finding a 28-foot-long python, Tedesco was hooked. “

It’s an adrenaline rush, pythons are very hard to find,” he said.

Rattlesnakes are easier to hunt down, and can be found in Colorado, but Tedesco still prefers to go out-of-state for his snake fix. He has visited Arizona and named Texas as a great place to hunt rattlesnakes.

“We have about the same amount [of rattlesnakes] as Texas does, except Texas rattlesnakes get two, three times as big,” he said.

Since Tedesco interacts with bats, rabbits and other animals along with snakes, there are more diseases he is prone to catching.

“I get bit by everything,” he said. So far, he has been treated for rabies and tapeworms.

Tedesco said he is a snake kind of guy, but he finds all animals interesting. He is currently apprenticing with a world-renowned taxidermist in Elizabeth, Colo., learning the process of stuffing and preserving many different animals.