A Florida man has died after eating dozens of cockroaches and worms in a bid to win a pet python, a spokeswoman for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said by telephone Tuesday that police are investigating the death.
Edward Archbold, 32, was one of several participants in an insect-eating contest Friday sponsored by the Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, Florida, 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Miami, according to local police.
Archbold began vomiting shortly after his exploits won him the python, and he collapsed outside the store, police in Broward County said in a statement. Emergency responders took Archbold to a nearby hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
A spokeswoman for the county medical examiner said the results of Archbold’s autopsy are expected within the next two weeks.
The owner of the store that held the contest, Ben Siegel, told WPLG-TV he was “very saddened by this,” and added that Archbold was “the life of the party.”
The grand prize was a female Ivory Ball python worth $850, which Archbold had reportedly planned to sell to a friend.
The contest was titled “Eat Bugs for Balls.”
Video footage from the event shows Archbold stuffing his mouth with the bugs from a large yellow bucket next to a line of other contestants. After the competition is over, he holds his hands to his mouth as if he is about to regurgitate while the crowd chants his name. After apparently stifling the urge to vomit, Archbold pounds his chest triumphantly with his fists.
Siegel’s attorney said in a statement that the more than 20 participants in the contest had signed a waiver accepting responsibility for their participation in “this unique and unorthodox contest,” local television reported.
The bugs used in the contest “are safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment as food for reptiles,” local television cited the attorney as saying.