The Eaten Alive guy didn’t get eaten alive at all: letdown or expected?

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I almost put “spoilers” in the title but it’s not like this was a show that people were particularly invested in. Naturalist Paul Rosolie, 27, claimed that he was going to be eaten alive by an actual anaconda in the Discovery special, Eaten Alive. Rosolie’s aim was to raise awareness of the destruction of the rain forest, a cause for which he’s passionate about. He was wearing a protective fiber carbon suit that he claimed would protect him while the giant snake ate and then regurgitated him, but it didn’t end up mattering much. In the pretaped show, Rosolie called off the stunt when he felt him arm snap while he was getting squeezed. Many people (especially children of the 80s like me) have compared this TV special to the huge letdown of Geraldo Rivera’s unveiling of Al Capone’s vault. Discovery promoted the hell out of this special and Rosolie even did interviews giving the impression that the snake had eaten him. He said on The Today Show that “the last thing I remember is seeing the snake’s mouth open straight at my face, everything went black. It was like being caught in a wave. You feel that crush… I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear much.” When asked how he got out of the snake, he said “They don’t tell you how the tightrope walker got across, you have to watch it on Sunday.” People did watch it, and while some found it entertaining others felt they were misled.

US Weekly has the best summary of this mess and a video is below:

Naturalist Paul Rosolie donned a protective outfit which he claimed would enable him to be eaten alive by an enormous anaconda snake, without being killed. But after a lengthy search for a suitable creature, Rosolie called time on the stunt after only his head had been consumed by the reptile, and Twitter exploded with disappointment.

The Amazon conservationist wore a carbon-fiber suit, to protect him from the snake’s potentially heart-stopping constriction. Viewers watched as the snake bit his helmet. But before Rosolie could go any further into the snakes stomach (the promise of which had created outrage amongst animal rights activists), he called his security team to get the animal off him.

“I’m calling it, I need help!” he screamed as he felt his arm starting to break. There was no second attempt, and the animal was released back into the wild.
“I started to feel the blood drain out of my hand and I felt the bone flex,” Rosolie explained, after his attempt. “And when I got to the point where I felt like it was going to snap I had to tap out,” he said…

In response to the complaints, Rosolie has claimed that he carried out the risky move in a bid to raise money to save the snake’s habitat in South America, and that the animal was not harmed.

“I wanted to do something to grab people’s attention to the plight of the disappearing rainforests, something completely crazy,” he said earlier this month. “Everything else has been tried.”

[From US Magazine]

At least he did it for a good cause. I wouldn’t want anyone to get eaten by a snake for TV ratings of course, despite how misleading this was. What’s more is that the anaconda used was actually raised in captivity. The show featured Rosalie hunting through the rainforest to find one. Rosalie had an explanation for that too “We didn’t want to stress out a snake and then release her to the wild… We wanted to keep the suspense but really, it wasn’t that big of deal for the snake. But people have been drawing such crazy conclusions, we let them wonder.” Yeah, people were drawing the “crazy conclusion” that he would be eaten by the snake because the show was titled “Eaten Alive” and they kept claiming he would be eaten alive.

Here’s the video of Rosalie getting squeezed by the snake. It’s pretty scary as is. I doubt as many people would have watched if they titled it “The Anaconda from the San Diego zoo* squeezes a guy in a protective suit”.


*I don’t know which zoo the Anaconda was actually from.

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27 Responses to “The Eaten Alive guy didn’t get eaten alive at all: letdown or expected?”

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  1. Alexandra says:

    Good thing the snake didn’t have to regurgitate the guy. Would have felt sorry for the snake.

  2. lower-case deb says:

    wait. release it back into the wild?
    so they caught a wild snake, promised it good food, and once it had a taste (what did he taste like? rubber chicken?), it got Heimliched out of the deal? forget outraged viewers, the snake should sue for false advertising.

    • SamiHami says:

      We need a like button.

    • word says:

      It wasn’t a wild snake. Read the article…the snake was from a zoo. They pretended it was a “wild” snake for entertainment purposes and suspense. Stupid idea really. How did they think they could possibly make a substance that an anaconda couldn’t crush? Are they insane?

  3. skipper says:

    This is so stupid. He wants to be eaten by the snake but he can’t even stand it wrapping around him? What did he think was going to happen? Publicity stunt and nothing more.

    • Venus says:

      Agreed. He said it didn’t even want to eat him — he had to provoke the snake to get it to go for him. I fail to see how this raises awareness at all. What a douche.

  4. Christin says:

    I’m actually happy the snake didn’t have to endure the entire stunt.

    A few days ago, someone mentioned Geraldo and I brought up the 1986 Al Capone vault fiasco. Some may have forgotten it, but I remember buying the hype and watching the live two-hour show. Then we laughed at what a big nothing it turned out to be.

  5. GiGi says:

    I watched a little (and tivo’d the rest for the kids) and, even though I’ve never had an aversion to snakes… this may have turned the tide. Some of the video footage of the anacondas eating deer or other large animals (and, yes, regurgitating them) was some of the most disturbing imagery I’ve seen in a long time. I mean, I’m all for nature, but I legit may have nightmares about these things now.

  6. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Well, that whole thing was stupid as hell.

  7. Denise says:

    What a dumbass. I can’t believe the anaconda wasn’t more gentle with him, how unexpected! How does potentially causing harm to one of the rainforest’s creatures help the rainforest? These ‘naturalists’ kind of seem like narcissistic jerks.

    Just the other day I used Al Capone’s vault as a reference, Geraldo will never live that down!

  8. Sara says:

    isnt it a myth that snakes can eat a grown man? i always thought the shoulders are too wide to fit and this stunt would confirm this.

    • FLORC says:

      This is actually possible. Depending on the species though and size of human. Funny enough snakes will still try to swallow prey that is much too big and as a result will burst open. I think not long ago there was a snake that swallowed a deer or alligator (or something) and it split open from the overwhelming size.

      With this case the man’s suit looked too large and the snake woulld have been in trouble if attempting to swallow him. That this man is a known activist he would’t risk the snakes life for a stunt.
      It all makes sense now, but I was wondering if he’s go through with it.

      • Jag says:

        FLORC, the one you’re referencing actually was killed when the cayman wasn’t dead as it was swallowed, and its sharp claws dug through the snake and killed it. You are correct that adult humans have been eaten, though. Typically, they have been passed out drunk or somehow incapacitated prior, and they are usually on the skinny side.

        I’m very happy that the stunt was called off. I think that this guy is a complete hack and I wouldn’t donate to anything that he told me to. There are great organizations out there who are trying to save the rainforest and its animal species, and I’ll donate to them instead.

        As for the Discovery channel, they will never be on my “to watch” list ever again. I signed a petition to stop the showing of a “mockumentary” that they did which told lies about wolves, and now that they’re trying to kill anacondas for shock value, it’s way too much for me.

      • FLORC says:

        I do remember that, but i’m pretty sure the deer fully dead when swallowed.

        Agree about the guy and Discovery. What downhill programing. And it might have been about History channel, but still applies. South Park spoofed those shows with BigFoot and Ancient Aliens.

    • Tippy says:

      A mature Anaconda is perfectly capable of swallowing a grown man.

      Humans are much more streamlined than than some of the snake’s other large prey and less apt to cause injury.

      All snakes will routinely regurgitate their meal if they feel threatened while consuming or digesting it.

  9. Sixer says:


    Dear David Attenborough

    Please go and give the Discovery Channel some nature broadcasting lessons.



  10. snowflake says:

    i think i would chicken out too on being eaten alive by an anaconda.

  11. witingbit says:

    i read an incredible article about a month ago talking about how exploitative this was and how discovery has just turned into clickbait television programming and it actually does nothing for the rainforest or even animals in the rainforest to hurt a snake like this.

    i was gonna link it but now i can’t find it. please don’t support or validate this guy’s stunt, especially financially. just makes it acceptable for networks etc to think this kind of thing is okay and acceptable.

    nature is pretty remarkable and awesome as it is. the means of this video could’ve been accomplished by feeding the snake a dead bison, antelope or alligator etc. with a camera in there but having a full sized person with electric devices in there just to be regurgitated out is pretty awful.

  12. grabbyhands says:

    LOL at anyone that really believed that he was really going to be eaten. It was painfully obvious that is was just a continuation of the type of publicity shill for viewers that has infected what used to be a really great channel. I’m only surprised that they continue to pull this when people complained about it during Shark Week.

  13. littlestar says:

    Maybe I’m a little over the top here, but this is animal abuse to me. This actually makes me angry. I understand he’s trying to promote his cause, but he was playing with the snake’s life here! What if he had been swallowed alive and something went horribly wrong? It just makes me upset that some living things lives just seem so expendable to some humans.

    • Carrie says:

      His whole thing was ‘his safety and the safety of the snake’ but failed to explain how getting swallowed alive in a carbon fiber suit then being forcibly puked back up wouldn’t harm it. I didn’t believe this from the get go but his story was full of holes.

    • Lauraq says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I love snakes (have one of my own, Draco. I’ve had her for half my life, and she’s old, and has cancer, but she has brightened my life so much). I think this guy is an exploitative, attention seeking douchebag, but I’m glad he didn’t actually get swallowed. Regurgitation is NOT harmless to a snake, and if he panicked while inside her (as I’m sure he would have) his thrashing would have hurt her.
      I’ve noticed he claims to be a herpetologist, but no one can find out where he got his credentials. Leave the snakes alone, doucher!

  14. roxy750 says:

    I completely agree with this article. We watched it, the whole family, we were in awe, all excited, had popcorn made and were all sitting on the couch waiting…for 2 whole hours. Now, the first hour and half was excellent. IT was like an adventure, we learned, we saw parts of the Amazon we didn’t know existed, that part was tremendous. The way the team worked together and also how stupid they were trying to catch an anaconda in the dark and in the water!! Anyways, the end was a big chump. I felt very misled. OH well—I learned about the Floating Forest. That was cool.

  15. Kath says:

    “Conservationist”, my ass.

  16. Carrie says:

    I can’t help but smh at anyone who believed this, honestly. As for the snake….I hope they didn’t seriously release a captive bred snake into the wild. It better hope it’s hunting instincts are intact if they did. Morons.