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We’ve all heard the story that Jonah being swallowed by the whale, and also then, along with his father Geppetto, producing a fire so that the whale sneezes them the end … Or something like that. Whatever the case, being swallowed whole is a fate that has permeated our mythology and stories transparent time. But what is the actual common progression to fatality when an animal gets swallowed whole? and are over there any pets outside of an ext commonly well-known things prefer tapeworms that sometimes survive the ordeal and also go along their merry way, even if it is by fighting their method out or merely being driven out the various other end?

As you could expect, death for creatures swallowed whole depends on what creatures eat them. Few of the many famous pets known for swallowing food whole—snakes—actually kill their prey prior to consuming it, either through venom or constriction. However, in some instances details animals take your prey directly into their mouths if the biology is quiet alive and also kicking. Such creatures encompass frogs, certain fish and birds, varieties of snake and also even world (we’re looking in ~ you, goldfish-swallowing-craze university students).

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One particularly creepy instance of a biology that eats the prey totality is the Kinabalu huge red leech. This big annelid/tiny lovecraftian fear preys top top a types of gigantic earthworm native to the jungles the Borneo and sucks the whole thing into its mouth favor a gigantic piece the spaghetti … being consumed by another giant item of spaghetti.

While over there is part contention among experts, it shows up these worms are swallowed alive as there have been instances of the leeches having to spit the end worms whose size they underestimated, after ~ which suggest the worm goes on the wiggly way. Therefore what wake up to them as soon as inside? the is usually thought the worms die relatively quickly, since the stifling confines of the leech’s human body aren’t specifically ideal because that the worm’s respiration, resulting in it to suffocate long prior to being converted right into leech dooky.


In some examples, such as with particular birds, the predator may attempt to shock or incapacitate that is prey through its mouthparts before swallowing, though this might simply result in debilitating injuries rather than death., A mindful trip to the stomach is likewise a legitimate possibility in the situation of things prefer frogs and also fish, which generally push their food come the backs of your mouths with tiny or no injury prior to swallowing.

So, supposing an animal’s prey survives its foray in the mouth of its predator: what wake up to the next? While part might case the solid contractions the the predator’s esophagus is sufficient to crush the animal, anyone who thrown up and also seen a fully intact french fry from lunch can attest the esophagial contractions are seldom solid enough come crush food- only solid enough come encourage its pilgrimage down to the stomach.

Once in the stomach, while the most obvious cause of fatality for pets swallowed alive would certainly be the an effective stomach acid of a predator, it’s usually unlikely that this is walking to cause the death, at least not in the meat melting way occasionally stated in Hollywood. Rather, thanks to sphincters—everyone’s favorite variety of muscle—the internal of a stomach is largely bereft of breathable air. Thus, together an atmosphere would likely cause an air-breathing animal to pass out and also dierelatively quickly. By contrast, it would certainly take much much longer for stomach mountain to eat with the skin or outer surface to the point where it would do any life threaten damage. Even in the case of fish being swallowed alive, the high-acid/low-oxygen content of the stomach acid and also chime current in the predator’s digestive tract would similarly cause it come perish native suffocation reasonably quickly.

Of course, the following question it is bound to arise once considering this morbid problem is: exterior of evident creatures like particular parasites, deserve to other creatures feasibly make it through being swallowed alive?

It turns out- yes. For example, part snails, which have been known to make the long and undignified journey with an animal’s whole digestive tract and also come out, Shawshank Redpmetion-style, ~ above the other end.

For example, the Tornatellides boeningi snail the Japan’s Hahajima Island are known to have actually a tiny chance the surviving an entire trip through a bird’s digestive system after gift eaten. We choose to imagine this procedure leaves the snail’s covering with a shiny brand-new buff job, though it more than likely never smells fairly the same.

As come how regularly they survive, Shinichiro Wada and also his partner at Tohoku University found that, as soon as these snails were fed come bird varieties native to Hahajima Island, around 15% that them endured the trip, with among them also giving birth after the journey.


As for the precise mechanism that permits the snails to make it through the trek under the bird’s bowels, this isn’t clear. However, the researchers theorize the snail’s shell, coupled through an ability to seal chin in v a an effective coating of mucus (called one epiphragm), avoids stomach mountain from emotional the snail. Additionally, the gastropod’s small size ensures the it encounters minimal complications, such together being crushed, together it provides its stinky journey. It’s even hypothesized that this mechanism could even it is in an aspect of the snail’s evolution, enabling it come propagate its species about the island via handy transport inside birds. Scientists have actually seen similar phenomena in pond snails consumed by fishes and also birds.

So what about other creatures? Well, in 2012, biologists in east Timor it was observed a strange, wormlike types of snake, known as a remote snake, arising from the rear finish of a toad. Regarding how the snake survives such an event, the researcher hypothesize this is because of the creatures overlapping scales, i m sorry made that resistant to damage; that wormlike shape, which allowed it come crawl with the toad’s bowels; the truth that the toad hadn’t eaten recently, leaving a nice, poop- totally free intestine for the line to climb through; and, finally, the remote snake’s ability to grow underground with only minimal oxygen.

All the said, unfortunately the intrepid blind snake died several hrs after that triumphant emergence, though it wasn’t yes, really clear why.

Moving on from there, what around animals that perhaps attempt at least to fight their method out?

While many creatures have the feeling to no to swallow anything lively that has actually sharp spines, claws, or toxins, it just so happens that there is a kind of creature in which such a scenario has actually played the end multiple times in the past. Get in the line eel.

The snake eel has a barbed tail i m sorry it uses to burrow in the sand. However, when eaten by fish, it has actually been observed to use this tail to attempt to bore v the stomach of the animal that ate it. However, as much as researchers can tell, this attempts constantly end up gift in vain as the eel inevitably finds itself trapped in the space between the stomach and abdominal muscle wall, wherein it frequently suffocates, despite does at least gain a little revenge ~ above its killer.


Generally, however, together SNAFUs space avoided by the evolution instincts the the predator in question. Once it comes to the highest-evolved of animals, however, that animal’s greatest asset— personality and cost-free thought—sometimes override this safeguard. Go into humans.

For example, in 2016 a drunk guy from the Netherlands was coaxed right into swallowing a live catfish. Now, because that those no acquainted v catfish anatomy, this creatures have actually sharp spines on their pectoral fins (and in some types these spines deserve to be rather venomous) supplied in self-defense scenarios … such as being swallowed by an inebriated Dutchman.

The fish finished up lodging itself in the man’s throat, and the poor reveler/zoophage was rushed to extensive care, vomiting blood, where the siluriform to be subsequently and safely removed. The male lived to experience further parties, and also perhaps swallow various other creatures. The fish, however, while properly achieving its goal of extraction, no so lucky: regardless of its valiant initiatives to carve its method from the innards the the beast the consumed it, it perished in the fight, likely due to lack the oxygen, or being drowned in cheap netherlands beer.

But have actually there ever before been any type of happy endings- where an pet has safely dealt with their way out?

Yes.

One together feat that derring-do has been observed from the bombardier beetle. This critters have the capability to release a explode of extremely irritating chemicals that shoot from their insectoid moneymakers with incredibly high pressure. You might recall how, earlier, we pointed out that some frogs often tend to swallow prey without incapacitating the first—well, Shinji Sugiura and Takuya Sato, researchers at Kobe University, observed instances that frogs consuming the beetles, ~ which suggest the beetles’ protective mechanisms, once used from the confines of the frog’s stomach, would cause the amphibians come regurgitate the beetle. The beetle, despite its expedition to the Gastric Hilton, typically remained unharmed after the ordeal.

Even much more impressive is the rough-skinned newt, an amphibian that produces a an effective toxin that has the potential come kill any type of predators foolish sufficient to overlook the newt’s cautionary orange coloring. The newt’s toxicity is so powerful, in fact, the frogs have actually been observed swallowing the critter, then succumbing come the toxin so conveniently that the newt has time to exit through the frog’s mouth before the predator’s cradle juices and also lack of oxygen bring away effect.


Moving on native there, the epomis beetle larva has actually been recognized to take things a step further. In fact, this beetle—and that is nighmarish offspring—are known as frog hunters.

So how does a small invertebrate hunt down and slowly eat lively a creature many times its size? In short, the larvae have a tactic the dodging the frog’s tongue before being swalloed, climate latching ~ above the creature, whereby they proceed to devour it. In at least one instance, however, the frog actually succeeded in consuming the larva, whereupon it was regurgitated. At this point, the food rotate on that diner, grabbed it with its mandibles and also proceeded come feed. Thus, not only surviving the event, but ultimately consuming the creature that swallowed it.

But let’s go earlier to the beginning and talk about Jonah and Pinocchio. Room there any animals that deserve to swallow civilization whole and also alive? although there have been some an extremely rare instances of snake swallowing people, such reptiles have a method of incapacitating girlfriend first, mainly through

constriction, so you will do be dead before being swallowed, especially considering that the swallowing process in such situations would likely take hours or longer.Crocodiles and also sharks again rarely consume people, and in together cases, the prey would certainly be dead an initial by being ripped apart or far-reaching damage done by the predator’s an effective teeth and jaws. This leaves whales together the only candidate because that swallowing human being alive. However, the largest pets on the planet, the blue whale, along with the largest fish, the whale shark, room not fitted to sloop down humans, having tiny esophagi which would reason them to choke on us. That pipeline the sperm whale, the biggest carnivorous cetacean.

And some experts insurance claim that it may theoretically be feasible for a sperm whale come swallow a human whole, though there are two troubles with this. One is that the sperm whale’s dagger-like this would likely kill the food first, in which case you’d be long dead prior to suffocating in the whale’s number of stomachs. But this suggest is rendered largely null, together sperm whales just feed deep in ~ the surface ar of the water and would never view humans as prey. So any accidental swallowing would need to derive native a quite bizarre succession of events.

That said, over there is a frequently told story the one James Bartley gift swallowed by a sperm whale in the so late 1800s, after which he was cut out the the whale by fellow mariners apparently countless hours later. Though his skin had supposedly to be bleached white and also his eye rendered blind, he accused survived.

However, in more recent times, most find this story a little bit farfetched, given the particulars, consisting of the extreme amount the time Bartley supposedly invested in the whale’s insides, among other worries with the tale. On optimal of that, there yes, really isn’t much of any hard evidence to show this actually occurred, regardless of the story make the rounds ago in the day. Possibly a little bit akin come the legend that the dolphin Pelorus Jack the was a world-wide emotion in his day and even tho widely credited today for something he never once in reality did, together we tracked down for our video clip on the subject.

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On the add to side, humans deserve to apparently take heart in the reality that, amongst the multitudes that unpleasant means we deserve to die, we’ll never have to worry around being swallowed alive, uneven Cthulhu increase from his sunken royal residence beneath the tides come once more begin his terrible reign end mankind.

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