After weeks of hype, and no small number of angry protests by animal rights activists, that exciting primetime event wherein a man would be eaten alive by a giant anaconda on national television went off without a hitch… save for the minor matter of a man not being eaten alive by a giant anaconda.
If you missed it, here’s the deal: Naturalist Paul Rosolie was set to star in the Discovery Channel special, in which he would serve himself up as dinner to one of the largest snakes in the natural world. Rosolie had a special carbon suit constructed that would supposedly protect him from being crushed within the confines of the snake’s belly, although how he was going to get out of there after being eaten is still unclear. (Do snakes have a rear exit big enough for a man to fit through?)
Either way, it didn’t end up mattering. After nearly two hours of airtime was spent locating an anaconda that did want some of Rosolie’s buns, hon, the carefully-planned and much-buzzed-about stunt came to a premature conclusion when its star took himself off the menu, calling to be extricated from the snake after only his head had been consumed.
According to US Weekly‘s report on the story, Rosolie explained, “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.”
The reaction of those who’d tuned in for the show was, predictably, disappointed:
Meanwhile, Rosolie has no plans to repeat the stunt, having stated that the entire outrageous idea was only ever meant to bring awareness to rainforest conversation efforts, anyway. And apart from the understandable anguish of fans who tuned into “Eaten Alive” expecting to see someone, y’know, eaten alive, nobody — including the snake — was harmed in the non-making of this show. In an interview with People, Rosolie admitted that they’d used a captive anaconda, and she’s fine.
“We wanted to keep the suspense but really, it wasn’t that big of deal for the snake,” he said.