We’ve every heard the story the Jonah gift swallowed through the whale, and also then, together with his father Geppetto, developing a fire so the the whale sneezes them the end … Or something choose that. Whatever the case, gift swallowed entirety is a fate that has actually permeated ours mythology and also stories throughout time. Yet what is the actual typical progression to death when an animal gets swallowed whole? and are there any pets outside of much more commonly known things prefer tapeworms that occasionally survive the ordeal and also go follow me their funny way, whether by fighting their means out or simply being moved out the other end?

As you might expect, fatality for creatures swallowed whole depends top top what creatures eat them. Some of the many famous pets known for swallowing food whole—snakes—actually kill their prey prior to consuming it, either with venom or constriction. However, in some instances specific animals take your prey directly into their mouths when the creature is still alive and kicking. Together creatures incorporate frogs, details fish and also birds, arrays of snake and also even civilization (we’re looking in ~ you, goldfish-swallowing-craze university students).

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One specifically creepy example of a creature that eats that is prey totality is the Kinabalu large red leech. This large annelid/tiny lovecraftian horror preys ~ above a species of gigantic earthworm aboriginal to the jungles the Borneo and sucks the entirety thing right into its mouth prefer a large piece that spaghetti … being eaten by another giant piece of spaghetti.

While there is part contention among experts, it shows up these worms space swallowed alive together there have been instances of the leeches having actually to spit the end worms whose dimension they underestimated, after ~ which point the worm walk on the wiggly way. For this reason what wake up to them once inside? it is generally thought the worms die relatively quickly, due to the fact that the stifling confines of the leech’s body aren’t exactly ideal because that the worm’s respiration, bring about it to suffocate long prior to being converted right into leech dooky.

In part examples, such together with details birds, the predator might attempt to shock or incapacitate that is prey with its mouthparts before swallowing, though this might simply result in debilitating injuries quite than death., A conscious trip to the stomach is additionally a legitimate possibility in the situation of things prefer frogs and also fish, which generally push your food to the backs of their mouths with small or no injury prior to swallowing.

So, supposing one animal’s prey survives the foray in the mouth the its predator: what wake up to the next? While some might claim the strong contractions the the predator’s esophagus is enough to crush the animal, anyone who’s thrown up and also seen a fully intact french fried food from lunch can attest that esophagial contractions room seldom strong enough come crush food- only strong enough come encourage its expedition down come the stomach.

Once in the stomach, while the most evident cause of death for animals swallowed alive would be the an effective stomach mountain of a predator, it’s typically unlikely that this is going to reason the death, at least not in the meat melting method occasionally discussed in Hollywood. Rather, thanks to sphincters—everyone’s favorite range of muscle—the internal of a stomach is largely bereft of breathable air. Thus, such an setting would likely cause an air-breathing pet to pass out and dierelatively quickly. By contrast, it would certainly take much much longer for stomach acid to eat through the skin or external surface come the point where it would do any kind of life threaten damage. Also in the case of fish being swallowed alive, the high-acid/low-oxygen content of the stomach acid and chime current in the predator’s digestive street would similarly cause it come perish from suffocation reasonably quickly.

Of course, the following question that’s bound to arise when considering this morbid issue is: exterior of obvious creatures like specific parasites, have the right to other creatures feasibly endure being swallowed alive?

It transforms out- yes. Because that example, part snails, which have been well-known to make the long and also undignified journey with an animal’s entire digestive tract and also come out, Shawshank Redpmetion-style, on the various other end.

For example, the Tornatellides boeningi snail the Japan’s Hahajima Island are well-known to have actually a small chance the surviving whole trip v a bird’s digestive mechanism after being eaten. We prefer to imagine this process leaves the snail’s covering with a shiny brand-new buff job, though it probably never smells quite the same.

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

As because that the specific mechanism that permits the snails to make it through the trek under the bird’s bowels, this no clear. However, the researcher theorize the snail’s shell, coupled through an capability to seal itself in with a an effective coating of rubber (called one epiphragm), avoids stomach acid from touching the snail. Additionally, the gastropod’s small size ensures that it to meet minimal complications, such together being crushed, as it provides its stinky journey. It’s even hypothesized the this mechanism can even it is in an aspect of the snail’s evolution, allowing it to propagate its species about the island via handy transportation inside birds. Scientists have actually seen similar phenomena in pond snails consumed by fishes and birds.

So what about other creatures? Well, in 2012, biologist in east Timor observed a strange, wormlike types of snake, recognized as a blind snake, emerging from the rear finish of a toad. Regarding how the line survives such an event, the researcher hypothesize this is due to the creatures overlapping scales, which made that resistant to damage; that wormlike shape, which allowed it come crawl through the toad’s bowels; the truth that the toad hadn’t consumed recently, leaving a nice, poop- free intestine because that the line to climb through; and, finally, the blind snake’s ability to thrive underground with just minimal oxygen.

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

Moving on indigenous there, what about animals that perhaps attempt at least to hit their method out?

While most creatures have actually the sense to no to sloop down anything alive that has actually sharp spines, claws, or toxins, it simply so happens the there is a sort of biology in which together a scenario has played out multiple time in the past. Enter the snake eel.

The snake eel has a barbed tail which it uses to burrow in the sand. However, when consumed by fish, it has actually been observed to use this tail to attempt to bore through the stomach that the pet that ate it. However, as much as researchers deserve to tell, this attempts always end up gift in vain as the eel inevitably find itself trapped in the room between the stomach and abdominal wall, whereby it frequently suffocates, though does in ~ least get a tiny revenge ~ above its killer.

Generally, however, such SNAFUs room avoided by the evolutionary instincts the the predator in question. As soon as it concerns the highest-evolved the animals, however, that animal’s biggest asset— personality and cost-free thought—sometimes override this safeguard. Go into humans.

For example, in 2016 a drunk man from the Netherlands was coaxed right into swallowing a live catfish. Now, for those not acquainted with catfish anatomy, this creatures have actually sharp spines on their pectoral fins (and in some types these spines deserve to be fairly venomous) used in self-defense scenarios … such as being swallowed by one inebriated Dutchman.

The fish ended up lodging chin in the man’s throat, and also the negative reveler/zoophage to be rushed to intensive care, vomiting blood, wherein the siluriform was subsequently and safely removed. The guy lived to experience additional parties, and perhaps swallow various other creatures. The fish, however, while successfully achieving its score of extraction, wasn’t so lucky: in spite of its valiant initiatives to carve its means from the innards that the beast that consumed it, it died in the fight, likely as result of lack of oxygen, or being drowned in cheap netherlands beer.

But have there ever before been any happy endings- whereby an animal has safely fought their means out?


One such feat that derring-do has actually been it was observed from the bombardier beetle. This critters have the capacity to relax a explode of very irritating chemicals that shoot from your insectoid moneymakers with incredibly high pressure. You can recall how, earlier, we pointed out that part frogs have tendency to swallow food without incapacitating it first—well, Shinji Sugiura and also Takuya Sato, researchers at Kobe University, it was observed instances that frogs consuming the beetles, after ~ which allude the beetles’ protective mechanisms, once applied from the boundaries of the frog’s stomach, would reason the amphibians come regurgitate the beetle. The beetle, despite its pilgrimage to the Gastric Hilton, typically remained unharmed ~ the ordeal.

Even more impressive is the rough-skinned newt, one amphibian the produces a an effective toxin that has actually the potential to kill any predators foolish enough to neglect the newt’s cautionary orange coloring. The newt’s toxicity is for this reason powerful, in fact, the frogs have actually been observed swallowing the critter, then succumbing come the toxin so easily that the newt has actually time to leave through the frog’s mouth before the predator’s cradle juices and lack of oxygen take away effect.

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

So how does a tiny invertebrate hunt down and slowly eat alive a creature numerous times that size? In short, the larvae have actually a tactic of dodging the frog’s tongue prior to being swalloed, then latching ~ above the creature, whereby they proceed to devour it. In at least one instance, however, the frog actually prospered in consuming the larva, whereupon it was regurgitated. In ~ this point, the food turned on that is diner, got hold of it through its mandibles and also proceeded come feed. Thus, not only surviving the event, however ultimately consuming the creature that swallowed it.

But let’s go back to the beginning and also talk about Jonah and Pinocchio. Room there any pets that can swallow world whole and alive? return there have actually been some very rare instances of snake swallowing people, such reptiles have actually a method of incapacitating friend first, largely through

constriction, so you will do be dead before being swallowed, specifically considering the the swallowing process in such situations would likely take hours or longer.Crocodiles and also sharks again rarely consume people, and in such cases, the prey would be dead an initial by gift ripped personally or far-reaching damage excellent by the predator’s powerful teeth and jaws. This pipeline whales together the just candidate for swallowing civilization alive. However, the largest pets on the planet, the blue whale, together with the biggest fish, the whale shark, space not equipped to swallow humans, having tiny esophagi i beg your pardon would reason them to choke ~ above us. That leaves the sperm whale, the largest carnivorous cetacean.

And some experts case that it may theoretically be possible for a sperm whale come swallow a human being whole, despite there room two troubles with this. One is that the sperm whale’s dagger-like this would likely kill the prey first, in which case you’d be long dead prior to suffocating in the whale’s number of stomachs. However this allude is rendered largely null, together sperm whales just feed deep in ~ the surface ar of the water and also would never view human beings as prey. So any type of accidental swallowing would have to derive indigenous a fairly bizarre succession of events.

That said, over there is a generally told story of one James Bartley gift swallowed through a sperm whale in the so late 1800s, ~ which he was reduced out of the whale by other mariners apparently plenty of hours later. Despite his skin had supposedly been bleached white and also his eye rendered blind, he allegedly survived.

However, in much more recent times, most find this story a little bit farfetched, given the particulars, including the too much amount the time Bartley supposedly invested in the whale’s insides, among other problems with the tale. On optimal of that, there yes, really isn’t much of any type of hard evidence to show this in reality occurred, regardless of the story make the rounds back in the day. Probably a little bit akin to the legend of the dolphin Pelorus Jack that was a world-wide sensation in his day and even still widely credited today for something he never once in reality did, as we tracked under for our video clip on the subject.

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On the to add side, humans can apparently take heart in the reality that, amongst the multitudes the unpleasant ways we have the right to die, we’ll never need to worry about being swallowed alive, uneven Cthulhu emerges from his sunken palace beneath the tides to once more begin his terrible reign over mankind.

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