The American filmmaker and naturalist who filmed himself getting eaten by a giant anaconda for a highly-anticipated television special that is about to be aired has spoken out about what motivated him to take part in the risky stunt.
Earlier this year, Paul Rosolie put on a special “snake-proof suit” to let a 25-foot 400-pound anaconda eat him alive in a risky performance that will be aired on Discovery Channel this Sunday. Mr. Rosolie’s stunt immediately prompted a storm of criticism from animal rights groups who declared it an act of “animal abuse to the highest degree”. You might not be surprised to learn that Mr. Rosolie sees things somewhat differently. He told The New York Post:
I wanted to do something that would absolutely shock people. Environmentalists, we love to preach to the choir. What I’m trying to do with this is bring in a bunch of people that wouldn’t necessarily know what’s going on in the Amazon.
For the type of attention that this is getting and for the type of emergency that’s going on down there — desperate times, desperate measures. Once they see the show, these are people who are going to be supporters. It’s a cool little dissonance there — they’re all coming out against me, but I’m the guy that’s been down there in the jungle trying to protect these things.
It took Rosolie and his team of about a dozen people quite some time to find an anaconda big enough to do the job and then all their strength to capture the giant serpent. Then Rosolie donned his special carbon-fiber suit designed to protect him against both the snake’s deadly grip and digestive acids. Then he let the snake go to work. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Paul Rosolie filmed himself getting eaten by an anaconda last summer, and the stunt will air this Sunday on Discovery Channel. Rosolie pictured above with an anaconda in promotional pictures for the event. It’s unclear if this was the creature used in the stunt.
2. Rosolie says he participated in the risky act in order to raise awareness of the anaconda’s habitat, which is being encroached on by gold mining.
3. The special to air Sunday will reportedly advertise a fundraiser to save the snake’s habitat.
Mr. Rosolie said he was more worried about the snake’s safety than his own and added:
I didn’t want to stress [the snake] out too much. I wanted to make sure that the suit was smooth and wasn’t going to hurt the snake. I really wasn’t scared. We tested this suit and worked on this with experts so we knew I was going to be safe.
To provoke the snake, Mr. Rosolie drenched himself in pig blood and imitated movements of the snake’s typical prey. Anacondas typically hunt wild pigs, deer, capybaras and caiman.
The naturalist said “it didn’t take long” for the anaconda to fall for the bait, but he wouldn’t talk about what actually happened once the snake started to swallow him whole. “Eaten Alive” airs Sunday on Discovery Channel at 9pm ET.
4. In order to survive being eaten by the snake, Rosolie wore a custom-designed suit that protected him from the snake’s strong grasp and digestive acids. It also packed cameras, communication devices and enough air to last him three hours.
5. It took a team of 12 to capture the snake used in the stunt. Above, Rosolie pictured on the hunt in the Amazon.
6. Anacondas usually eat wild pigs, deer, capybaras and caiman.
7. New Jersey native Rosolie, who first ventured into the Amazon jungles of Peru at just 18, claims heΓÇÖs an advocate of conservation and not just a shill for television ratings.
And here is Discovery’s teaser:
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