How YouTube’s Top Wildlife Star Turned Getting Bitten by Animals Into Over 13 Million Subscribers

How YouTube’s Top Wildlife Star Turned Getting Bitten by Animals Into Over 13 Million Subscribers

His "Brave Wilderness" series -- in which he's been bitten by literally hundreds of animals -- has over 13 million subscribers and 2.3 billion views. Related: How the Creator of Epic Meal Time Continues to Find Success 8 Years After His First Video This year alone, Coyote has written a book (King of Sting), been on the receiving end of the most painful sting in recorded history, launched a new digital series about dinosaurs in partnership with the Jurassic franchise, and announced that he will be face of an all-new Animal Planet series debuting in 2019. How did you get your start on YouTube? In a way, what we produce on YouTube are “mini-movies,” and I think a lot of our viewers and brands we work with notice and appreciate it. Post on an episode like that takes around one to two days. My most painful sting came from the Executioner Wasp, that episode comes out late December and it was, without question, the most painful a sting has been. What are the other most painful stings? We release content based on what episode has gone through post production. Other than that, we occasionally do branded partnerships with partners that speak to the same sense of adventure as the Brave Wilderness brand, such as our recent series titled “Jurassic World Explorers.” Over four episodes, we were able to be a digital microphone for Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World franchise, creating exciting new content exploring the real-world science and paleontological aspects of the dinosaur kingdom. This content is certainly some of our most popular on the channel, Brave Wilderness, which is currently the No.

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How YouTube's Top Wildlife Star Turned Getting Bitten by Animals Into Over 13 Million Subscribers

In this series, YouTube Icon, Entrepreneur speaks with the individuals behind popular YouTube channels to find out the secrets of their success.

Even though his videos are some of the most viscerally impactful on the internet — ever see a guy get stung by a Japanese Giant Hornet? — Coyote Peterson’s key to YouTube success is shockingly mundane. “Stay consistent with your content,” he tells Entrepreneur. “If you’re going to start, don’t stop.”

It’s a philosophy that has worked for him. Known as “the Internet’s Steve Irwin,” Coyote is the top wildlife YouTube star in the world. His “Brave Wilderness” series — in which he’s been bitten by literally hundreds of animals — has over 13 million subscribers and 2.3 billion views. And that’s just the beginning.

Related: How the Creator of Epic Meal Time Continues to Find Success 8 Years After His First Video

This year alone, Coyote has written a book (King of Sting), been on the receiving end of the most painful sting in recorded history, launched a new digital series about dinosaurs in partnership with the Jurassic franchise, and announced that he will be face of an all-new Animal Planet series debuting in 2019.

Based on our conversation, the YouTube star somehow hasn’t bitten off more than he can chew. Here’s how he does it.

How did you get your start on YouTube?

We launched our channel in Sept. of 2014 and never expected it to grow this big and this fast. It pretty much started with an episode about me catching Common Snapping Turtles, and from there it was off and running. We had 52 episodes already shot when we released the channel, so it was just about releasing content as frequently as we could, and that consistency is what drew people toward it. In addition to that, what I think makes our content so successful is my own and my team’s background in filmmaking. We put a lot of thought into the content we produce — from the music, to the cinematography, to the way we unfold the elements of the story. In a way, what we produce on YouTube are “mini-movies,” and I think a lot of our viewers and brands we work with notice and appreciate it.

How did you get into filmmaking and what inspired your love for wildlife?

I have been into filmmaking since I was in high school. I was heavily influenced by filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, and the way he always kept the audience in suspense from shot to shot using so many interesting techniques, from lighting and shot selection to music. My love for wildlife was heavily influenced by my mom, who always had me in the outdoors exploring as a kid, and certainly wildlife programs and presenters like Steve Irwin, Austin Stevens, Marty Stouffer, Jeff Corwin and Bear Grylls.

Related: YouTube Star Remi Cruz Built a Lifestyle Brand With Millions of Followers by Staying True to Herself

How much time do you spend on a video, and what does that entail?

Each episode is unique, and some take longer than others. For example, the episode titled “Wolverine Face Off” took nearly four days to shoot and two weeks to edit. Whereas an episode about a red-eyed leaf frog that we find in the rainforest of Costa Rica happens much more quickly. You stumble upon the frog, film the episode, and can have it in the can in a matter of minutes. Post on an episode like that takes around one to two days. So, it’s a huge difference.

What bite or sting hurt you the most? What did it feel like?

Most painful bite was from a Gila monster, and that was an accidental bite. It felt like hot lava slowly working its way from my thumb, into my hand, slowly up my arm and eventually into my shoulder and chest. It was super scary, and there is no anti-venom; you must ride out the pain as your body absorbs the venom. My most painful sting came from the Executioner Wasp, that episode comes out late December and it was, without question, the most painful a sting has been. My arm was swollen for days, and eventually a small hole rotted in my arm from the venom at the sting site. Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to get swarmed by an angry nest of X-wasps.

What are the other most painful stings?

It used to be the Bullet Ant, but in November we named the Japanese Giant Hornet as a more painful…

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