The anaconda lives in jungles, rainforests and swamps in South America. The anaconda, often referred to as the green anaconda, is the largest and strongest snake in the world. It can be as thick as a tractor tire and can weigh up to 250 kilos, which also corresponds to the weight of 3 adult men. The anaconda is without a doubt an impressive sight and an animal one will soon forget.
Facts about the anaconda
|South America, east of the Andes
|100 to 225 kilos
|5 to 8 meters long
|Predators, live on freshly caught meat
|After mating, the female may decide to eat the male because she lacks “energy”.
The anaconda is the heaviest and thickest snake in the world. However, it is not necessarily the longest. In the long run, it can be surpassed by the Net Python in Asia. The anaconda weighs an average of 100 kilos, but several specimens have been seen that it can weigh over 225 kilos. In addition, it is about 5 to 8 meters long and measures approx. 1 meter in circumference. The female becomes much larger than the male. The reason for this is not known.
The anaconda is dark green with round, black spots on the back. In the wet areas where it moves, the colors of the back completely blend in with the surroundings. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to spot when it is in the water surface. The sides of the anaconda are also dark green with black spots, in which there are yellow spots in the middle. The anaconda is heavily built with a large head and a thick, muscular neck. Its eyes and nostrils sit on top of its head. This allows the snake to see and breathe even though the rest of the body is submerged.
The anaconda’s menu is large. The anaconda is a predator that feeds only on freshly caught meat. Its prey must be of a suitable size so that the snake does not have to work too much to get its prey eaten. The prey that is typically chosen are tapirs, hippos, large rodents, deer, fish, turtles, birds, sheep, dogs and aquatic reptiles. Sometimes it can even sneak up on a jaguar and eat it.
When the anaconda has to catch its prey, it typically does so by curling up and hiding in either water or along the river. Here it is waiting to attack animals that have to go down to the river to drink. The snake then bites the prey with its sharp teeth and pulls it under the water.
The hose also uses suffocation as a method to make the prey stop breathing. It does so by stringing its large and powerful body around the prey and squeezing each time they try to breathe. Then swallow the prey in a mouthful with the head first. This process takes a long time and the anaconda thus enjoys every single “bite” of its prey. The digestive system of an anaconda takes a long time, and after a large prey, the anaconda sleeps for several days. There have also been examples of an anaconda not eating for a whole year, after a very large prey.
The female releases some fragrances when she is ready to breed, to entice the male to. The scent spores are typically spread with the wind, which the male quickly picks up and follows. There are sometimes up to 12 males around the female, where it can take up to a month before the female chooses who she wants to mate with. Mating takes place underwater, here the male presses his body against the female’s while laying his head on her neck.
After mating, the female may decide to eat the male because she lacks “energy”. The anaconda is pregnant for 6 months, during which the female keeps the eggs inside her until they hatch. After six months, she “gives birth” to the live pups and can have up to 100 baby snakes, each 60-70 centimeters long. The small anaconda cubs can already swim, hunt and fend for themselves hours after hatching. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 3-4 years and continue to grow throughout life.
Most of an anaconda’s life is spent alone. Here the anaconda has its own hunting territory, where it resides. However, this changes when the rainy season comes, where the male and female flirt and get a good impression of each other. The anaconda is active at night, where it spends most of its time in the water. That is why it is also called the water boa. When the anaconda is on land, it usually moves slowly, due to its heavy weight and large body. But in the water it can reach a surprisingly high speed – both when it swims in the surface and underwater.
The anaconda belongs to the family of boas, all of which are strangler snakes. In this family there are about 40 different species. The closest family to boas are pythons, here all are also strangler snakes. In the python family there are about 26 different species. These two families are often merged into one family because they both consist only of strangler snakes. The closest relative of the anaconda (green anaconda) is the yellow anaconda. These two snakes may well resemble each other and live in the same places. However, the yellow anaconda becomes “only” 2-3 meters long and the scales on the underside of the tail are very different in the two species.
Travelers’ questions about the anaconda
Does the anaconda eat humans?
Anacondas will never intentionally attack a human, and are actually more afraid of the human than we think. Many stories have described that anacondas should either have attacked humans and eaten humans, however, these stories are not always true. It is extremely rare for an anaconda to attack humans, and there must be something completely wrong with the anaconda if it does this. It has been proven that an anaconda has attacked a human but eaten a human is not documented. The closest proof we get that anacondas eat humans is when Discovery in an experiment lets a human be eaten alive by an anaconda. The project had to be blown off as the subject broke his shoulders as the anaconda tried to eat the man.
Is the anaconda a poisonous snake or a strangler snake?
The anaconda is a strangler snake.
The anaconda does not kill its prey with poison, but instead the anaconda suffocates its prey. The anaconda kills its prey with pure muscle power. It winds around its prey, like a spiral, and squeezes so hard that the prey either suffocates or cannot be allowed to breathe because its heart does not beat properly.
The anaconda swallows its prey in one mouthful, and therefore does not chew its food. The snake’s jaws do not sit together at the back as in us humans, and can therefore open its mouth eerily much. A strangler snake can swallow animals that are as thick as the thickest spot on the snake’s own body. That would be equivalent to us humans being able to swallow a sheep in one bite. Anacondas often eat large animals such as hippos, deer, tapirs, alligators and jaguars in one mouthful.
Where does the anaconda live?
The Andaconda lives only in South America.
More specifically, the snake is widespread in the northern part of South America, east of the Andes. However, most anacondas come mainly from the Amazon River in Brazil and the Orinoco River in Venezuela. The anaconda typically lives in tropical rainforests, savannas, grasslands, shrubs and deciduous forests. The anaconda spends most of its day in water, and will therefore always live very close to water. It often rests in caves or climbs trees along the riverbank to rest. It prefers stagnant and slow-flowing water, and therefore does not like fast-swimming water.
What is the biggest enemy of the anaconda?
The greatest enemy of the anaconda is man
One would think that an anaconda’s greatest enemy was a large animal, but this is not the case. Many anacondas are killed by the local population because the population simply fears the snake. However, the anaconda will always avoid any contact with man as far as possible. In addition, many of its habitats are being destroyed by humans, so keep a close eye on the population of anacondas so that you do not become an extinct species.