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Duration:06:17
Uploaded:2015-01-01
Last sync:2018-11-15 07:20
Jessi talks about the recent television show 'Eaten Alive' and the ramifications of such content.

This episode was filmed before Paul Rosolie came out with his response to the final cut Discovery Channel aired. This letter can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/23/why-i-let-myself-be-eaten-alive-by-an-anaconda

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 Intro


Some of you may have heard about the man who wanted to be eaten alive by a snake. I guess... a few things popped into my head when I heard this. First: can a human even be eaten by a snake? And, you know, there's I -- I'd heard some stories, you know, nightmare stories about that, and the short answer is yes. Yes, a human can be eaten by a snake if the human is small enough and the snake is large enough. I'm Jessi, we're at Animal Wonders, let's talk about being eaten alive. (0:29)
(Animal Wonders music plays)

 Main segment


Interestingly, most things are not irrational hunters, and they're very aware of the size of their prey item. They're not going to be trying to consume something that's too large. If they do, it won't fit down their mouth or down their throat; they'll be forced to regurgitate it... regurgitation is very stressful on a snake, and it can be potentially physically harmful. (1:01)
So another question is: what is the driving force behind this man? What's his desire to do this? Is it curiosity? Is it knowledge? Or is it fame? I understand the curiosity behind that -- I mean, what really happens when a snake is consuming their prey... what happens inside? (1:15)
When you care for snakes, one of the first things that you learn is that you need to be OK with the fact that snakes eat other animals to survive. They don't have choice to be vegetarian; they are carnivores by nature. The first time that I fed my very first snake, I admit, I struggled with it; I was sad. I was allowing one living being to die in order for another one to live. I mean, it was super-cute. It was an itty-bitty teeny-tiny baby mouse; it was helpless. I felt guilty. But curiously, I didn't feel ashamed of what I was doing. (1:45)
I re-examined my morals until I found that I was sad for the loss of life, but at the same time, I was enthralled with the knowledge of energy moving from one form of life into another. The energy collected by that mouse was consumed by the snake, which in turn gave that snake energy to thrive! The cycle of life and death and the passing of energy from one living being unto another... it's absolutely amazing, and I'm a part of it and it's in me and it's beyond me. It's egotistical to think that I'm somehow separate from it. I consume living things and another living thing could consume me. (2:21)
So when I heard that a network and a man who were presenting themselves as animal lovers were building up hype for this show all about a man seeking the largest snake he could find and then attempting to be eaten by that snake, I was... interested. (2:34)
I waited to see how this was going to be portrayed in the show. Was it going to be a lesson on biology or anatomy, or ecology or conservation? Would it instill awe and wonder about the amazingness of snakes? Turns out, none of the above. (2:48)
They were so focused on the man being consumed by the snake that they didn't put enough effort into actually finding a snake large enough to consume a fully grown man. (2:59)
Since the snake that they did find was too small to -- for it to be physically possible to consume that man, and the network was already in the middle of making the show, they felt the need -- that something had to happen. So they went with their backup plan: an anaconda that was already in captivity. (3:13)
The problem was, they needed a 25-foot anaconda, and their backup was only 20 feet. And they still continued. So a 20-foot captive anaconda was now faced with a fully grown human, covered in pig's blood, that was too large to consume. And we've already learned that size really does matter. In this case. (3:30)
So even though she was hungry, she was not interested in eating this prey item that was too large for her consume. Instead, she became defensive. She bit him, and then she constricted him until it hurt his arm so much that he called it quits. (3:41)
My question is... why? Why is this even a thing that happened? I... I mean, I'm curious about what happens inside a snake when it consumes a prey item but I would be just as interested in watching a prey item to be consumed that was appropriate for the snake that had sensors and a camera on it. That would be really cool. (4:01)
It's obvious now that this whole thing was just to make an entertaining show to make money. And I know that's not the first time that's happened, and it won't be the last time, but I do know that this is something that I will never, ever do. (4:16)
I will never place entertainment and money over the value of my animal's welfare. And I'm not talking about animal's rights. I'm talking about the health and happiness of the animals. They are ambassadors to teach about wildlife and the environment and just how amazing and special their species is. They're entertaining in their own right, but not because I make it entertaining, but because they're awesome just being themselves. (4:37)
Wild animals in captivity have two roles: live out a comfortable life, and educate humans. Now, humans taking care of wild animals in captivity also have two roles: ensure the health and happiness of their animals in their care, and also educate their fellow humans. (4:54)
If an animal ambassador is comfortable in front of a large crowd, or they enjoy interactions with strange humans, or they thrive on intimate training sessions with known keepers, then that works in the favor of the mission of education. My goal is to give animals who wouldn't otherwise have a home a place to live out their lives comfortable. And to become ambassadors in teaching and understanding for wildlife and environment and nature and instill a desire to respect animals and marvel at how incredible our would is. (5:23)
One of my favorite sayings is: "In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." So if we're taught that animals are disposable, then we're going to treat them that way. And I think that's what disturbed me the most about this program Eaten Alive: animals should never be treated as a means to fame and money. For me, their health and happiness will always go first. (5:47)
Thank you guys for watching; this is an important subject for me, so if you'd like to continue the discussion, go ahead and leave your comments below, and if you have any questions or comments about anything else, or just want to say hi, you can find me all week at Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
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