When naturalist Paul Rosolie wanted to focus attention on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, he decided he needed a stunt guaranteed to get people looking.
“Everybody on Earth knows that the rainforests are disappearing and most people can tell you how important they are, but still, not enough people are paying attention, not enough people realize this is such a problem.”
The American activist said he was proud to take on the adventure, even though the prospect of dying was hard to swallow.
So the staunch environmentalist offered himself as dinner to an anaconda – and was prepared to be swallowed alive, filming every moment.
But in the end, Rosolie wasn’t exactly ingested by the snake, disappointing viewers who expected a journey into the belly of the deadly beast.
Instead he let the anaconda coil around him before calling the mission off, fearing he might get seriously injured.
Anacondas, the largest snakes in the world, typically suffocate their prey before ingesting it, making Rosolie’s attempt all the more dangerous.
To avoid suffocating, experts crafted Rosolie a specially designed carbon fiber suit, equipped with a breathing system – as well as with cameras and a system to communicate.
“We didn’t know if this was going to work, if I was going to be eaten, but we made sure that if I did make it inside the snake, I wouldn’t suffocate,” Rosolie explained after the ordeal.
The next challenge was trying to find a snake in the Peruvian Amazon jungle.
“We spent 60 days out in the jungle, camping, hiking, looking through swamps every night,” Rosolie said.
Eventually, they found a female snake, which at, six meters long, fit the bill.
“When I went up to the snake, it didn’t try to eat me right away,” Rosolie recounted.
“It tried to escape. And when I provoked it a little bit, and acted a little more like a predator, that’s when it turned around and defended itself.”
As the snake wrapped around a suited-up Rosolie – at one point opening its wide jaws on his helmet – the daredevil said she was squeezing his arm tight, which he feared might break.
“I felt her jaw on my helmet and I could hear a gurgling and wheezing,” he said, after surviving the standoff with the snake.
He told his team he was feeling light-headed and as the anaconda squeezed tight around him, he called for help.
“Guys you need to get in here... I’m calling it I need help!” he said from inside the suit, prompting the support crew to rescue an exhausted Rosolie from the anaconda’s powerful grip.
“Her crush force was fully on my exposed arm so I just started to feel the blood drain out of my hand and I felt the bone start to flex and when that got to a point when I felt like it was about to snap, I had to tap out,” he said.
Viewers on social media were swift in criticizing the show’s misleading title after it aired Sunday.
"I can relate to this #EatenAlive guy. I’ve been wrapped up in my comforter a little too tight and had trouble breathing. Not impressed.”
“Eaten Alive? More like Briefly Drooled On By A Snake While Alive.”
“Super disappointed in this Eaten Alive show.. I just sat here for two hours to see a snake lick the top of this dudes head,” tweeted another.
“@Discovery I’ve never watched your show Naked and Afraid but after watching #EatenAlive I assume everyone is clothed and calm.”
“Calling it #EatenAlive is like having a show on the Food Network about cooking a turkey and all they do after 2 hours is preheat the oven.”
Sources: AFP, Twitter, YouTube