Using your bare feet and toes to search for snakes as they hide underwater might seem crazy to most people. But for Jesus Rivas, that’s what it takes to capture and study anacondas, the South American serpents that can grow to be 18 feet long, or longer.
Green anacondas are well-camouflaged amid the floating cover of water hyacinths and other vegetation. As non-venomous ambush hunters who kill by constriction, they lie in wait for prey.
So using one’s toes to feel for an unseen snake in the murky marsh water “is really the only way to find them,” said Rivas, an assistant professor of biology at Somerset Community College.
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