- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A snake-handling Kentucky preacher whose preacher father died from a snakebite three months ago says he’s recovering from his own rattlesnake wound.

Cody Coots said he was bitten on a finger by a 6-foot-long rattler as he removed snakes from a cage Monday.

At first, “All I could think about - am I going to make it?” Coots was quoted by the Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1nRIXdO ) as saying.

He said he tried to keep calm, remembering his father’s instructions not to panic after a bite because that would make it worse.

Coots, 21, refused to go to the hospital, and family and friends prayed for him for hours.

The bite caused his hand to swell and he vomited repeatedly, but by Tuesday, he said, the pain was gone and he was able to eat.

“For a rattler bite, it wasn’t bad at all,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Coots is a fourth-generation snake handler and had been bitten five times previously, each time by cottonmouth snakes. His father, Jamie Coots, 42, had survived more than a half-dozen bites, but died in February after being bitten by one of three rattlesnakes he was handling during a church service.

Like Cody Coots, Jamie Coots had made it clear that he did not want medical attention for any snakebites, and his family sent an ambulance crew away as believers prayed over him. A deputy coroner pronounced Jamie Coots dead about 90 minutes after he was bitten.

Jamie Coots had been prominent among the small, tight-knit circle of snake-handling churches in Southern Appalachia. He gained wider notice last fall through a National Geographic Channel program called Snake Salvation, which profiled him and other snake handlers.

Following his father’s death, Cody Coots took over as pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, Kentucky.