Anaconda expert Paul Rosolie promised fans that he’d allow himself to be consumed by an anaconda on TV. The stunt was for a two-hour special on the Discovery Channel, appropriately titled “Eaten Alive.” Those who tuned in to view the bizarre encounter are now outraged that it didn’t quite deliver what it promised.
Going into the special, everyone knew that Rosolie at least survived his encounter with the giant Green Anaconda since he’d given interviews after taping the segment. Still, fans are upset that, although he was definitely attacked by the snake, it did not eat him alive -- not even close.
After getting wrapped up by the snake, which is known to crush its prey before eating it, Rosolie found himself laying in an awkward position. The snake began to consume his helmet, which was the plan, but Rosolie asked for help when the snake’s constriction almost broke his arms.
"I felt her jaws lock onto my helmet. I felt her gurgling and wheezing but then I felt her let go,” he said. “She got my arm into a position where her force was fully on my exposed arm. I started to feel the blood drain out of my hand and I felt the bone flex, and when I got to the point where I felt like it was going to snap I had to tap out."
In the harrowing eight-minute segment, which can be viewed below, Rosolie provokes the snake into coiling around him. This alone would have crushed any human to death, but he was wearing a specially-designed carbon-fiber suit.
”We tested the suit with trucks which squeezed the suit with tug-boat ropes and we couldn’t break the suit,” he told Entertainment Weekly in a Nov. 30 interview. “We tested it to 90 psi — which is previously what an anaconda has been recorded having constricted.”
It’s doubtful that anyone else would elect to be attacked by one of nature’s greatest predators. Still, given the name of the special, fans were outraged that they didn’t get to see a human being fully consumed by the anaconda. After all, the special was two-hours long and dedicated to that exact image.
“Calling it 'Eaten Alive' is like having a show on the Food Network about cooking a turkey and all they do after 2 hours is preheat the oven,” wrote one disgruntled viewer on Twitter.
Even the advertisers that created special content to fit the special’s theme poked fun at the underwhelming stunt. For example, 1-800 Contacts tweeted their commercial just after the show aired, joking that at least they showed someone in the belly of a snake.
— 1-800 Contacts (@1800CONTACTS) December 8, 2014
Despite all the criticism, Rosolie is pleased with the exposure he received from “Eaten Alive.” He told EW that his main goal for this crazy scheme was not to get fame or trick the audience, but to bring exposure to the crisis that’s going on in the Amazon rainforest.
“I’ve studied anacondas for years. They’re a misunderstood species,” he said in the interview. “People hunt them and kill them. And I said I want to do something that’s going to grab people by the eyeballs. So I wanted to do something that would sort of shock people and force a dialogue about what’s going on here — and it’s working.”
Prior to the show’s airing, animal rights groups started a petition on Change.org to stop the premiere of the show because of the cruel implications it would have on the anaconda. Rosolie said that, even though their hatred is directed at him, he’s pleased that these people are advocating for the health of this animal. However, he feels that bringing attention to the anaconda’s dwindling habitat is more important than just one snake. It’s worth mentioning that the anaconda used in the stunt was not harmed nor was she in any real danger – unlike Rosolie.