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USA Insider Snake in the Grass

Jeff Zausch Makes a Splash On 'Snake In The Grass' — How Did He Do On 'Naked And Afraid'?

Jeff Zausch is no stranger to survival challenges thanks to "Naked And Afraid," but will he find the snake in the grass?

By Tyler McCarthy
Snake In The Grass' Jeff

Snake In The Grass” will see contestants — who viewers may recognize from shows like “Survivor” and “Big Brother” — compete in a physical and mental game for the chance to win $100,000. However, perhaps one of the most memorable and enigmatic figures joining Bobby Bones on the new game show is “Naked and Afraid” veteran Jeff Zausch. 

How to Watch

Stream all eight episodes of "Snake in the Grass" on Peacock.

Zausch appears on an episode of “Snake In The Grass” alongside a handful of former “Survivor” contestants. But even his "Snake In The Grass" competitors, who have made their way through that infamously intense game show, couldn’t help but tip their cap to the survivalist for not only getting through a similar challenge in the nude but for setting records while doing it. 

For those unfamiliar, “Naked and Afraid” is a reality series on Discovery that takes two survivalists and places them completely nude in the wilderness for 21 days. They’re allowed to bring one item to make things easier for them (think a knife or a flint) but ultimately they’ll need to rely on their instincts and survival education to make it out without starving, dying of thirst, or succumbing to the elements and wildlife. 

The show has spawned several spinoffs and Zausch has competed on pretty much every single one of them. According to his IMDB page, after co-hosting "Dual Survival," he appeared several times on the flagship “Naked and Afraid” show as well as “Naked and Afraid: Savage” and “Naked and Afraid XL.” The latter essentially beefs up the same competition to 40 days. However, Zausch and his partner, Laura Zerra, were the first to take on and successfully complete the biggest challenge of 60 days nude in the wild. 

In fact, it was during a stint on “Naked and Afraid XL” that he had his most harrowing survival experience yet. Jeff developed a 105-degree fever on the 51st day of his time in the jungles of the Philippines, according to the Idaho State Journal. He said he was the coldest he’d ever felt in his life from the illness, which causes his teeth to chatter and his body to shake uncontrollably. A lesser competitor would have quit, but he and Zerra were just nine days away from finishing. So, he somehow found the strength to carry on. 

“I wasn’t scared. I was just determined,” Zausch told the outlet at the time. “I just said as many prayers that night as I had in the entire 60-day challenge up until that point. I was praying nonstop, asking God to help my fever. To me, ultimate failure would be tapping out of this challenge.”

Zausch would even compete again in the show. In his off time, he continues to take on outdoor challenges and see the world's sights in the wild. In addition, he takes his positive attitude with him as a motivational speaker. 

Now, he's found his way to Central America for a new challenge in the wilderness on “Snake In the Grass.” While his time on “Naked and Afraid” has certainly prepared him physically, does he have what it takes to handle the mind games at play when a saboteur is among his fellow survivalists? At the very least, he'll be allowed to wear clothes this time.

“Snake In The Grass” premieres Monday, August 1 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network.

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