When we hear the word snake, one of the species that is most evoked and arouses the most curiosity is the Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus). Also called Commom Anaconda, Common Water Boa or Sucuri, this constrictor snake is part of the Boidae family.
It is considered the largest snake in America, the heaviest in the world and the second longest, after the Reticulated Python. That’s why many people also call it the Giant Anaconda.
You may wonder if this animal is dangerous ? How tall is it or where does it live ? We have written a complete article about it. After reading it, this mythical ophidian will have no more secrets for you! So, if you are ready, let’s go and discover it immediately !
Green Anaconda Facts
In the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon, the Anaconda is known as “Yacumama“, a term of Quechua origin that means “mother of water“.
The Boa Constrictor is known as “Sachamama“, which means “Mother of the Forest”.
This Anaconda is dark green in color, with oval, round or elongated black spots on its upper body. On its sides, we find the same black spots combined with yellow.
Its snout is made of six thick scales (three on each side). This characteristic is the one that allows to distinguish it most easily from other species of Eunectes.
Its head is narrow and it does not have a marked neck. Its nostrils and eyes are positioned on top of its head, allowing it to breathe and see more easily when it is in the water.
Its large, muscular body is covered with soft, moist skin that can absorb large amounts of water.
Like all snakes, the Green Anaconda has a forked tongue that helps it detect prey and analyze its environment. Microparticles in the air stick to it and when it pulls its tongue in, they are sent to the Jacobson’s organ.
Green Anaconda Size
As mentioned above, this snake is known to be the heaviest in the world and the second longest, after the Reticulated Python.
The length of the Green Anaconda depends on the sex. The female can range from 13ft to 26ft (4m to 8m), while the male is “only” 10ft (3m) on average. It is impossible for him to go unnoticed.
In 1960, in Brazil, a female was recorded with a size of 27.72ft (8.45m) and a weight of 500lbs (227kg). Rumors say that the largest specimen observed came from Venezuela, with a height of 37.53ft (11.44m), a weight of 628lbs (285kg) and a girth of 4.04ft (1.23m).
As for its weight, it can vary between 100lbs to 395lbs (45kg to 180kg) depending on the specimen.
Despite its impressive size and weight, it can climb trees without difficulty.
The Green Anaconda is a rather docile snake. Contrary to what you might think, it prefers to hide when it feels threatened, unless someone tries to attack it.
It spends most of its time in the water because its imposing body prevents it from moving quickly on the ground. Once submerged, this snake is very fast, being able to reach very high speeds no matter the depth. It tends to float on the surface with only its snout sticking out.
They do not have very good vision and hearing. They therefore use their sensory abilities a lot to detect prey or danger. They are also very sensitive to vibrations, which allows them to detect nearby movements.
It is able to adapt very quickly to an environment by entering a state of latency during periods of flooded savannah. Those that live near a river do not enter this state and remain in constant activity.
Where Do Green Anacondas Live ?
This snake is an endemic species of South America. It is found in the Orinoco and Amazon river basins, but also in eastern Colombia, Brazil and in some areas of Venezuela. It can also be found in Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Paraguay and Ecuador.
Some members of this species have also been reinstated in remote areas, such as Florida for example.
Its aquatic (or semiaquatic) nature as well as its diurnal and nocturnal behavior allow it to move in freshwater habitats as well as in vegetated areas such as tropical forests and grasslands.
The lifespan of the Green Anaconda is 10 years in the wild, although it can live up to 30 years in captivity if the conditions are right.
What Do Green Anacondas Eat ?
The semi-arboreal nature of this reptile allows it to have a balanced diet, as it can eat both marine and terrestrial animals. It feeds on turtles, small fish, tapirs, iguanas and other birds like ibises.
The biggest of them are able to attack bigger animals that are also part of their predators like deer or alligators.
This reptile is an opportunistic predator that strikes its prey by surprise. As it has no teeth and is not venomous, it will only use its powerful jaw to hold its prey.
It will then come to roll up its large muscular body around it then will come to tighten its rings until choking it. The more its victim will fight, the more it will exert an important pressure. This process is identical both in water and on land.
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For a small animal, it takes only a few minutes to swallow its victim completely. However, when it is a larger animal with rigid body parts such as a deer or an alligator, it will have to stretch its jaw as far as possible in order to swallow the body, which may take much longer.
Juveniles feed on baby alligators and small birds, but their diet changes over time. When they become adults, they will need a much larger amount.
However, if they eat a large prey item, their slow metabolism means they don’t have to hunt for weeks.
Cannibalism exists in the Green Anaconda, mainly from females to males. Although scientists have yet to find a reason for this behavior, their hypothesis is that it may be due to the female needing more food after breeding.
The Green Anaconda is a solitary animal until the mating season, which takes place during the rainy season, between April and May.
During this period, which can last several months, the male must find a female. To do this, she leaves traces of pheromones that the male must detect.
Once the female has released her pheromones, she remains motionless and waits for the male or males to come to her … Indeed, there are cases where dozens of males trying to mate with the same fertile female. In scientific language, this is called “mating balls” and this scenario can last for several weeks.
The one who will eventually mate with the female is often the larger and stronger male. However, since the female is much stronger and larger than the males, she may have the final decision.
The reproduction process takes place exclusively in the water and occurs on average every two years.
Once the mating is over, the gestation period lasts 6 to 7 months. This snake is ovoviviparous, so it will give birth to between 20 and 40 young, although it can go up to 100. The female loses about half of her weight once the gestation is over.
At birth, the baby Green Anaconda measures between 2.3ft and 2.6ft (70cm and 80cm). They become independent very quickly and look for their food themselves as they do not receive any parental help.
When they are small, they are often preyed upon by other animals. If they manage to survive, they grow rapidly and reach sexual maturity in their first years. After that, growth slows down.
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The Green Anaconda has no real commercial value, although its skin can be used in leather goods.
The main threat to its conservation is the destruction of its habitat (deforestation of tropical forests…) as well as hunting by those who consider it a dangerous animal for children and domestic livestock.
In the Amazon, there are many legends about the Green Anaconda, especially about its size. The record for the length of a Green Anaconda is currently 27.72ft (8.45m). However, there are rumors that some have seen a specimen of about 49ft (15m), even 66ft (20m).
The Anaconda rarely attacks humans. However, another myth circulates in the Amazon about the “man-eating” Anaconda. But what is it really ?
Myth about its size
In the Amazon, there are many testimonies from people used to travel in the rainforests and even from scientists about the size of this snake.
They all claim to have seen giant Anacondas of more or less 99ft long (30m). Despite their seemingly implausible claims, they all seem to be sure of what they have seen.
On the other hand, there is an Anaconda of about 36ft (11m) that was killed and measured by geologists. It is now the largest snake in the world.
The “Man-Eater” Anaconda
This reptile is indeed capable of feeding on very large prey. In French Guiana, some of them have already ingested armadillos and daguets. In Brazil, some have been seen eating capybaras of 132lbs (60kg).
It is therefore totally possible that it is capable of swallowing a child, even a teenager.
This is why the hypothesis of an Anaconda swallowing a man cannot be ruled out. There are apparently credible testimonies about this, but none of them could be proven.
In fact, there are many more concrete testimonies about the great land pythons than about the Anaconda.
There are two stories that have actually been proven about a snake swallowing a man:
The first is about a 14 year old Malaysian boy who was killed and then eaten by a 17ft (5.18m) Reticulated Python.
The second is about a teenager who was caught by a 15ft (4.50m) Python in South Africa, in 1979. His friend who saw the scene went for help but when he returned to the scene 20 minutes later, the snake had already swallowed the young man. A man tried to kill the python with a pickaxe but only managed to regurgitate his prey. Unfortunately, the teenager had already died of suffocation and significant injuries.
In its natural environment, the Anaconda is only dangerous to humans in the water. On land, its heavy body prevents it from moving quickly. However, its opportunistic behavior makes it hide mainly in the top of trees. It is therefore difficult for humans to see it because of its skin which serves as camouflage.
If someone comes within its range, it bites its victim and then wraps itself around it.
Now you know everything about the snake considered as the biggest in the world.
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