Daregeon “Snipe” Youngblood holds a Red Tailed Boa. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Daregeon “Snipe” Youngblood holds a Red Tailed Boa. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

DHI Media Staff Writer


VAN WERT – Sword swallowing, tattooing, collecting oddities and rescuing reptiles are just a few of the things Daregeon “Snipe” Youngblood enjoys.

New to Van Wert, Snipe came from Panama City, Florida, with 19 of her reptilian friends to seek new opportunities.

“I was gonna move to Colorado,” said Snipe. “I got offered a really good job out there, but after hearing that Bradde (Hamman) needed someone to run Open Minded and live above it – you can’t really beat that.”

Snipe has a passion for reptiles. She has around 19 different reptiles ranging from ball pythons to a basilisk to iguanas to a crocodile monitor and many more, almost all of which are rescued.

“Everybody wanted a dog or a cat and I wanted an iguana,” said Snipe. “I always caught lizards when I lived in Florida, and then I got to have one and I just started collecting them.”

In Florida, whenever someone had a lizard that needed help or rescued they knew who to call. Snipe mentioned that she does have some of her rescues up for adoption to give them a good home.

One of the only reptiles that Snipe purchased was her prized possession, her crocodile monitor.

“She came from New Guinea, they’ve only been bred in captivity successfully three times,” said Snipe “Buying them captive bred is not an option, normally I would say get everything captive bred, but this was the exception.”

She was put on a waiting list from a legal American distributor, and after a year she found out that she was getting the crocodile monitor.

Aside from reptiles, Snipe enjoys tattooing. She has been tattooing for seven years.

“I never aimed to be a tattoo artists,” said Snipe. “I worked at Sonic and the owner of a tattoo shop visited a lot with his kid. We would talk about art and then one day he offered me an apprenticeship and I figured, ‘why not?’”

From tattooing she learned about other activities in the industry.

“I went to Vegas during my apprenticeship and that was my introduction into everything high-end in the industry,” said Snipe. “There was a show there that had a couple of sword swallowers in it. I kind of just was like ‘I’m gonna do that’.”

Sword swallowing was the first sideshow skill she learned which challenges the participant’s gag reflexes.

“There’s no glamor to it, you shove things down your throat till you stop choking,” said Snipe. “Then you get brave and try a sword.”

Snipe mentioned that she has done sword swallowing all over the country and even has been on stage showing off her skills while bands played their instruments. She even stated she set a world record for her birthday this year. Snipe and a friend of hers from Norway set a record by swallowing a sword while suspended on a spinning beam.

“They told us to call our families,” chuckled Snipe. “Just in case.”

Snipe also enjoys collecting oddities. She has used some of her own reptiles that have passed to make oddities, jarring them herself. She collects skulls that she finds or orders online, often making art with them.

Snipe brings a wide variety of new traits to Van Wert and hopes to get involved with the community and show off what she has to offer.