Discovery's Man-Swallowing Snake Stunt Stretches Credulity
Move over, Shark Week: In the latest anything-for-ratings move, Discovery Channel plans to air a show called Eaten Alive that it says features a man in a special protective suit being swallowed whole by a giant anaconda.
The teaser for the program (above, sans the money shot) sums up the Dec. 7 show thus: "Naturalist and filmmaker Paul Rosolie enters the belly of an anaconda in a custom-built snake-proof suit." Rosolie is heard saying "you've got to go head first."
It's not clear how big the animal is, but the green anaconda can reach a length of more than 29 feet and measure 12 inches in diameter. No one is quite sure how Rosolie, who is reportedly slathered in pig's blood to make himself more appealing to the snake, can be safely removed once the "experiment" is finished. Even so, the naturalist promises:
If u know me - I would never hurt a living thing. But you'll have to watch #EatenAlive to find out how it goes down! http://t.co/QvxZO2dS3V— Paul Rosolie (@PaulRosolie) November 5, 2014
Still, it hasn't stopped an online petition against the show, which describes it as "animal abuse to the highest degree and absolutely disgusting" and says the concept of the show "once again reinforces the negative stereotype of snakes, which one would think would be the opposite of what Discovery should be trying to do."
To say the feat stretches credulity (not to mention the snake) is putting it mildly. Herpetologist Frank Indiviglio declared it all "nonsense; not possible" in an email to Business Insider and subsequently tweeted:
@kevloria Discovery has taken a real nosedive in recent years; more nonsense— Frank Indiviglio (@findiviglio) November 5, 2014
Indiviglio isn't the only doubter. Science writer Jason Bittel (National Geographic, Slate, etc.) issued a series of questioning tweets:
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