Peterson’s YouTube channel, Brave Wilderness, has amassed millions of followers by giving the people what they want: videos of him being stung and bitten by massive insects. According to Vice, Peterson realized there was something to the ‘pain game’ after the video where a porcupine quills him did far better than his typical videos.
This success inspired Peterson to climb the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, a scale that ranks the stings by various wasps, ants, and other insects in the hymenopteran order. Interestingly, Justin Schmidt allowed himself to be stung by most of the insects to formulate the index, so Peterson’s replication of the experiment is far more scientific than most casual observers probably realize.
While the series of sting and bite videos have done a lot to attract first-time viewers, Peterson’s other videos are just as interesting and more educational. Some of the classics include his face off with a wolverine, the gila monster bite, and a ton of alligator snapping turtle videos. A native of Ohio, Peterson has a knack for finding strange and exotic creatures in every environment, including places most of us would look right past.
While Peterson may lack the natural charisma and charming accent of Steve Irwin, he more than makes up for it with a willingness to get his hands dirty and his palpable excitement for nature. I’d love to see what Peterson could accomplish if he were given the same resources as someone like Jeremy Wade from River Monsters – it seems like Brave Wilderness would be a natural fit for Animal Planet.
Enough with the Bigfoot shows, Discovery should try creating a series that actually educates people about animals and nature while entertaining them (the point of the network?). The essential component to this type of show is the host, and after watching most of Peterson’s videos on YouTube, I’m confident that he has everything it takes to be a major TV series host.