The green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is the second longest snake in the world, typically reaching a length of over 20 feet long! It is a very thick and robust snake with a body diameter that easily exceeds 12 inches – making it the heaviest-bodied snake in the world!
The color pattern of an anaconda consists of an olive green background with black blotches along the length of the body. The head is actually quite narrow compared to the body, and tends to have distinctive orange-yellow striping on either side. In order for the snake to see out of the water without exposing its body while swimming, the eyes are set high on the head.
The anaconda’s native environment is in the Amazon and Orinoco river systems of northern South America, and east of the Andes.
Is the anaconda a man-eater? There are many local stories, myths and legends stating such, but there is very little evidence to actually support this. Anacondas do not usually attack humans unless it is provoked. However, it is not beyond its ability to swallow a man or child whole.
There is one theory that states an anaconda judges the size of the potential prey based on height. If so, a human would appear much larger than other standard meal choices. This would make it less likely for an anaconda to attack a human.
So what does an anaconda eat? Well it could feasibly eat Bambi but its typical prey consist of birds, chickens, sheep, dogs, turtles, capybaras (the world’s largest rodent) and even caymans. Simply put, if hungry enough it could attack any animal it was capable of ingesting.
Unlike snakes such as the bushmaster (Lachesis muta muta) which uses a toxic venom to subdue it’s prey, the anaconda constricts it’s prey until it has successfully suffocated it to death – talk about a big squeeze! Wow!
Anacondas are ovoviviparous, with females giving birth to live young (as opposed to laying eggs). Litters typically consist of 20 to 40 offspring, although as many as 100 may be produced!
These newborn snakes are referred to as neonates. Neonates are around 70–80 cm long and receive no parental care – once they are born, they are on their own! Because of their small size, most fall prey to other animals.
Check out this amazing video to watch baby anacondas enter the world and fight for their own survival, making their way to the upper levels of the rainforest food chain!
By Candace, SaveTheReptiles.com