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Video: Paul Rosolie to be 'Eaten Alive' by anaconda on Discovery

By JohnThomas Didymus     Nov 6, 2014 in Environment
A wildlife filmmaker, Paul Rosolie, 26, has announced that he will allow himself to be swallowed alive on camera by an anaconda while dressed in a custom-built, snake-proof suit for protection.
Discovery Channel will air the documentary "Eaten Alive" on December 7.
Rosolie says he will allow himself to be swallowed by an anaconda to experience what it is like. But he will be wearing a bulky custom-built protective suit (see video) which he expects will allow him to survive the encounter.
The notion of a man contemplating allowing himself to be swallowed alive by an anaconda sounds so crazy that it is natural to assume that producers are withholding information about what Rosolie is really going to do.
An incredulous writer comments on CBS Detroit: "There really are some truly crazy people in this world. I used to think Bear Grylls was the craziest dude out there. Today, I stand corrected. Paul Rosolie has taken the cake. He decided it would be a good idea to be eaten alive by an Anaconda."
Paul Rosolie
Paul Rosolie
Paul Rosolie/Facebook
Another person commenting on Twitter described the idea as the "craziest thing ever," but said, "I'm gonna watch."
Discovery Channel has released a trailer (see video) for the upcoming special. Posted to YouTube on Nov. 5, the trailer gives very little detail about how the stunt will be performed. It only shows Rosolie leading a team into the jungle, apparently in search of a random specimen to perform the dangerous experiment with. But this could be part of the TV ratings strategy. It is possible that he would be using a pet or a tame snake for the stunt.
He says in the video: "We're gonna get me inside the snake. We're gonna make me as appealing as possible, so the snake just says, 'Well, I got this big thing here. I might as well get a free meal.'"
But it remains to be seen how he plans to make himself look "yummy" to an anaconda in the wild while dressed in a bulky synthetic suit for protection.
According to National Geographic, anacondas, specifically green anacondas, are the largest snakes in the world. They can grow to about 30 feet (9 meters) and weight up to 550 pounds (227 kilograms).
Experts say there are no verified cases of anacondas attempting to have humans for dinner. However, it is believed that this could be due to the fact that they are found in remote rainforest environments where they have little contact with humans.
They are known to feed mostly on medium sized animals, such as wild pigs, deer, capybaras, fish and birds that rarely grow larger than about 55kg. This suggests that a full-grown human male of about 70-80 kg could be beyond their prey-size range. However, given the opportunity, a large snake could possibly attack and swallow a small-sized human adult.
Animal rights activists are protesting the planned stunt, describing it as an act of "animal abuse to the highest degree."
Paul Rosolie
Paul Rosolie
Facebook/Paul Rosolie
A spokesman for the radical animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, said, "Not only does this publicity stunt sound far-fetched, it would also be lethal for the snake. Shame on this pseudo 'wildlife expert' for tormenting and likely killing an animal for a thrill, and shame on the Discovery Channel for giving him the incentive to do it!"
However, for as long as the exact details of what will be palmed off to viewers as being "swallowed" by an anaconda remain uncertain the criticism from animal rights activists could prove needless.
As noted earlier, it seems unlikely that the stunt will actually involve being swallowed whole and bodily by a wild snake. Anacondas, like other boa constrictors, generally crush their prey before swallowing them. It is not clear how a "snake-proof suit" would protect Rosolie from the crushing and suffocating pressures of the process of being taken and swallowed by an anaconda, except we assume that he will be "fed" to a tame animal under carefully controlled conditions.
Rosolie has responded to criticism and attacks from animal rights advocates. Appealing to his past record of advocating for anacondas as a threatened species in a dwindling natural environment, the native of New Jersey, who says he first entered the Amazon rainforest at 18, defended himself against allegations that the show would involve animal abuse, tweeting: "If u know me - I would never hurt a living thing. But you'll have to watch to find out how it goes down!"
His website states that he has "worked on conservation projects in tropical ecosystems all over the world," and that his "experience covers locations in India, Indonesia, Brazil and Peru."
However, he specializes "in the upper Amazon" and is well-known for his conservation work "with anacondas... indigenous communities leading volunteers from all over the world into the rainforest to protect biodiversity."
He recently published a widely acclaimed memoir "Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon." His award winning documentary, "An Unseen World," showcases the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest.
He wrote in his memoir: "Within the first five minutes of being in the forest, I realized that all the hype I had absorbed as a kid about rainforests was nothing compared to the reality. I knew that the jungle was where I belonged."
But despite his claim of a track record in conservation work, animal rights advocates are calling for Discovery Channel to stop the show. They have started a petition on Change.org which has received over 5,000 signatures.
Part of the petition reads:
This is animal abuse to the highest degree and absolutely disgusting, and could kill the snake - an adult green anaconda cannot fit the width of an adult man's shoulders into its body... Please sign this petition and boycott the Discovery Channel and get this show taken off the air.
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