An explorer who once claimed to have ridden an anaconda through the jungle “like a horse” plans to be swallowed by a snake on live TV.
US naturalist Paul Rosolie will attempt the stunt wearing a protective suit with a “tail,” which his assistants can use to pull him out if the snake does not regurgitate him first.
A trailer for the programme uploaded to YouTube shows Mr Rosolie making his way through the Amazon claiming he is entering a “previously unexplored” ecosystem.
“We’re going to get me inside of a snake,” he says as his team leap off their canoe to wrestle and capture a large anaconda.
“We’re going to make me as appealing as possible so the snake says, ‘Well, I got this big thing here, I might as well get a free meal’,” he says, adding “You have to go head first” as he approaches the reptile in his snake suit.
Mr Rosolie does not explain why he wants to be swallowed by the snake and not everyone is happy with his plans.
A petition on change.org is calling for a boycott of the Discovery Channel, which plans to broadcast the stunt live this weekend.
A statement posted by the petition’s creator says: “This is animal abuse to the highest degree and absolutely disgusting, and could kill the snake – an adult green anaconda cannot fit the width of an adult man’s shoulders into its body.
“It once again reinforces the negative stereotype of snakes, which one would think would be the opposite of what Discovery should be trying to do.”
Responding to suggestions the stunt would be cruel, Mr Rosolie tweeted: “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!”
Originally from New Jersey, Mr Rosolie is no stranger to the natural world.
Environmental website Mongabay claims that at the age of 18 he ventured into the Amazon rainforest alone to work at a research station.
He is also said to have explored a floating forest, mentored an indigenous tribe, been stricken by tropical disease and hand-reared a baby anteater.
The Discovery Channel was not available for comment.