Could I survive if I was eaten by an anaconda?

15 November 2016

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Question

I saw your article about how a man would weather in an orca's digestive system.

I was wondering about snakes.
Considering the Anaconda is one of the biggest snakes, and could swallow a human,
-what injuries would a human suffer in the process or being ingested, if constriction was negated?
-would they be crushed by the esophogus muscles?
-if they could breathe, how long would they last before being digested?
-would it be possible to force the snake to vomit, or to somehow agitate it to climb out?
-if a person were to get out somehow, what might they have, scar-wise?

Answer

Chris Smith put this to zoologist and naked scientist Georgia Mills...

Georgia - It's a great question - I hope no one's eating. The Anaconda, one of the biggest snakes; it's actually the heaviest snake, not quite the longest. It lives around the Amazon in South America. So what would happen if you got eaten by one?

There's a number of problems:

Firstly the anaconda is not going to want to eat you, most likely. Humans are just a bit too big for them. There's not many cases of an anaconda actually going for a human - I think most of the cases are Anaconda researchers getting a bit too cheeky and getting snapped at. But they have been documented for going for children and very small humans. So first off, probably not going to want to eat you.

Secondly they will constrict you. It's what they do before they eat anything. Eating something while it's still alive is dangerous for them, so they will wrap around you and they will crush you so hard that your blood will cease to pump and it won't get to your brain and you'll pass out and die very, very quickly. And they will know that you're dead because they can monitor your heartbeat.

But, for the questions sake, provided this anaconda does decide it wants to eat you and it does decide it doesn't want to crush you first, what will happen then. So then the snake's incredible jaws; they're not actually fused together, there are four separate parts and they're elastic. So it can sort of stretch it's mouth really wide and sort of crawl over you gong chomp, chomp, chomp.

Chris - How does it go again?

Georgia - Chomp, chomp, chomp. That is a guess actually. So then it will use a lot of saliva to lubricate you, as it were. So you might actually drown. That might happen to you first. Provided you don't drown you sort of got inside the snake. Your shoulders would probably be too broad so it would have to break your shoulders. Then you're in there - you're going to need air. You're not going to have any air - you'll suffocate.

Provided you do have air, then what happens is that the acid and the enzymes will start to digest you, and it's hard to say how long this would take to actually kill you. Scientists had an experiment where they - I think an anaconda ate a crocodile. They scanned it and they found that all the soft tissues had gone within about three days, so that's quite fast-acting stuff. And if you think about how tough the skin of a crocodile is, as well, it doesn't bode well for us soft squishy humans.

Chris - So did they give the crocodile to the snake and say "eat that and make it snappy!"

Georgia - I hope so! Provided all these other things haven't killed you - will the snake regurgitate you?

I actually found a video on YouTube where this guy's goats had been eaten by a snake and he squeezed them back out.

Chris - Not intact, presumably?

Georgia - They were definitely dead but he managed to just... This poor snake was just writhing around like "oh no," and he squeezed these goat back out and they're useless to him so he may as well have let the anaconda have them.

Chris - I suppose he could have eaten then afterwards.

Georgia - Yes, that's true. A bit gross eating a snake vomit meal.

Chris - So can snakes actually vomit then? That was the last part of the question.

Georgia - Yeah. It's dangerous for them to do it so I don't think they do it often because it takes a lot of energy and a lot of time and all of that time they're regurgitating, they're vulnerable to being.

Chris - I think the same applies to me actually! Okay, so I think that's a no really for the anaconda. I know there are some stories of pythons eating kids, aren't there. I mean there one or two stories of that.

Georgia - Yeah. But people love spreading these stories when they're not true and I found several stories of snake eating different people and it was all the same photo. So, actually documented cases are very low.

Comments

Anacondas and for that matter Pythons are unlikely to eat humans. Most animals operate under the same logic as humans. If you had to hunt to eat and could decide between an lion and a rabbit you would chose the rabbit. Because if you fail to hunt the rabbit you will go hungry, if you fail to hunt the lion it will eat you.

Most animals work under the same logic, not all though. Ants are an expection that will attack bigger prey aggressively actually.

So does that mean Anacondas and Pythons arent dangerous for humans? No of course not. There are 2 conditions that still make them dangerous.

1: They will defend themselfs if they feel endangered. There fangs are long and penetrate deep, so you can bleed out pretty fast if you are unlucky. Additional to that it takes at least 2 grown men to pry these jaws open. Of course it might feel safer if you are crushed, even if it doesnt eat you, it might eliminate the danger it faces.

2: Despite every logic, if there is no rabbit to hunt what do you hunt? Obviously you hunt the lion because you need to eat or you die. Most predators are the same, if there is no food for them to hunt they will try to hunt bigger prey to survive. So if the only food around is you, well it wont be pretty.

So i would really not recommend to get close to one and instead run as fast as you can if you hear there is one in your area.

These links should show that it's not all cases that are the same; besides, this are videos and not even photos:

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/python-snake-swallows-man-wh...

https://www.worldofbuzz.com/disturbing-video-shows-indonesia-woman-swall...

Anacondas don't Pythons on the other hand is long enough to consume humans, especially in swampy regions. BUT, anacondas can also grow up to 25 feet, so don't take any chances, if there is even the slightest possibility of an anaconda in the area... RUN! I feel like Georgia over here, doesn't take into account stupid people... if you go around telling people anacondas are not going to go for humans even if it is facts, trust me someones gon' die.

This was awesome and exactly answered my comment

Yuck

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