Remember the man who planned to hop in a snake-proof suit and be swallowed whole by an anaconda? Of course you do. (If not, here’s a recap: It’s exactly what it sounds like.) When you heard about the stunt, chances are you asked yourself, “What in the world is this guy thinking?” Well, wonder no more. The man behind the act, Paul Rosolie, is here to explain himself.
Rosolie says the insane idea is meant to raise awareness about the anaconda’s rapidly disappearing environment.
“I wanted to do something that would absolutely shock people,” Rosolie told the New York Post. “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.”
Rosilie says the suit was specifically designed both to protect him during the stunt and not to aggravate the snake.
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“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,” Rosolie said. “I really wasn’t scared. We tested this suit and worked on this with experts, so we knew I was going to be safe.”
Rosolie says he’s been targeted with dozens of death threats over the move. He expects the criticism to cool off once people see the show, though. For what it’s worth, the stunt is completed and the snake is alive and healthy.
“Once they see the show, these are people who are going to be supporters,” he says. “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.”
The show airs on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 9 p.m. Eastern. Here’s a preview of it: