You could say that the adventure/horror film, ‘Anaconda’ drew attention to the fascinating world of snakes, and more specifically the huge semiaquatic Anaconda.
The movie is about a documentary film crew that journeys deep into the Amazon rainforest.
They’re in search of Shirishama Indians and have to fight a giant snake who wants nothing more than to squeeze the very life out of them.
Facts about Anaconda Snakes
Known as the Water Boa, the Anaconda is an apex predator – at the top of their food chain. These snakes are found in tropical South America and are one of the largest snakes in the world.
They are large and cumbersome and known for their excellent swimming abilities. Frightening really if you’re prey, and trying to get away. The Greek name for this snake is Eunectes Murinus, which means ‘good swimmer’.
We look at 10 more fascinating facts about Anaconda Snakes –
Fact 1 There are Four Recognized species of Anaconda
Anacondas belong to the genus Eunectes. They are classified into four species.
The Yellow Anaconda is also known as the Paraguayan Anaconda and you also get the Beni or Bolivian Anaconda. The other two are the well known Green Anaconda and the Dark-spotted Anaconda.
The Green Anaconda is usually dark green in color, with green, brown and yellowish spots, although coloring and size of these snakes depend on the species. It’s this particular serpent, the Green Anaconda, that holds the most interest as it is the biggest and heaviest snake in the world.
Fact 2 Anacondas live 10-12 years in the Wild
They can reach the age of 30 when kept in captivity. In Johannesburg, South Africa, the Audubon Aquarium announced the death of their Green Anaconda, Annie.
She died in 2018. The snake arrived at the aquarium in 2003, and in 2015 she celebrated her 32nd birthday.
She was the world’s oldest female Green Anaconda in captivity. Spending time in the Montecasino Bird Gardens, the serpent has slithered her way into the record books.
Fact 3 20 Feet Long is the Snakes Standard Length
There are some leading nature publications such as National Geographic that list the Anaconda’s maximum verified length as 29 or 30 feet.
However, there are snake experts who have actually caught and measured many Anacondas, who say that they don’t grow much longer than 20 feet.
In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records lists the longest ever recorded snake as 25-foot reticulated python.
These same snake experts say that the average size of female Anacondas is roughly 20 feet, with males being smaller, measuring in at about 9 feet.
Weights of these snakes are also up and down, and National Geographic says about 550 lbs, where the average weight is likely to be not much more than 150 lbs.
Fact 4 You can keep an Anaconda as a Pet
Anacondas do appear in the trade, but not successfully at first. They were imported, arriving with bad dispositions and full of parasites. They were stressed, ill and were disinterested in eating.
A lack of knowledge about the habits of these snakes precipitated high mortality rates.
Fortunately, proper veterinary care, as well as knowledge on these huge creatures, has meant that imported animals are now established.
They are able to reproduce in captivity with greater success. Only green and yellow Anacondas are available in the pet trade.
The main focus of any pet snake owner is to provide similar temperatures and moist conditions that the snake enjoys in the wild.
People who have already kept these snakes as pets recommend the Yellow Anaconda over the Green Anaconda, just because it’s a smaller snake.
Like the green Anaconda, the Yellow is a member of the family Boidae and also inhabits South America.
Fact 5 Anaconda Enclosures Require a Floor Drain
Whether you keep the green- or yellow Anaconda, when you think of the strength and potential dangers involved in keeping these serpents, the cage will need to be like a strong fortress.
It will need to be an enclosure that is easy to keep clean. These huge snakes produce a lot of waste and the cage will need a floor drain.
You will need to be well set-up to house such a huge snake.
Captively bred anacondas can make calm pets, but they get large. It isn’t a particularly good choice of a snake for anyone who doesn’t have sufficient experience working with- and keeping such large constrictors.
For Yellow anacondas and male green anacondas, you can get by with about 25 square feet of space, while a female Green Anaconda will need large enclosures of at least 50- to 100-square feet.
Fact 6 Anacondas Require a Pool in their Enclosure
Once you have done your research on Anacondas you’ll discover that they need large enclosures with a swimming pool to swim in.
These snakes like to soak and water plays a big part in their lives. Yellow Anacondas will want a temperature of about 84-88°Fahrenheit in the day, and about 77-82° Fahrenheit at night-time.
Fact 7 Anacondas are Calm Pets but they can Turn Aggressive
Just because Anacondas are so large, they can be dangerous. It’s their very size that makes them unsuited to inexperienced reptile owners. You need to check that an Anaconda is legal in your area before looking to keep one as a pet.
When these pets are well socialized, they are docile pets, but you nonetheless have to be very careful with children and pets in the home.
This is particularly so when these snakes haven’t been well treated, they’re hungry, aggressive and dangerous. If these snakes aren’t fed properly or it feels threatened, it can attack and try to constrict the person it is attacking.
Fact 8 Prey is Swallowed Whole
Anacondas are nocturnal, nonvenomous constrictors, hunting for a variety of prey.
They love capybara, but other rodents too. Fish, pigs, deer, and jaguar can also be on the menu. They lurk in rivers, and their coloring blends in with the murky waters, fooling their prey.
They’ve got nostrils and eyes on the tops of their heads, so they can see above the water while keeping the body submerged.
Anacondas can stay under the water for 10 minutes before resurfacing for air. They’re essentially waiting for animals to come and slake their thirst and then they attack. The snake uses its sharp teeth to restrain its prey.
There are different theories as to how the snake actually applies its constricting methods.
They can crush the bones of the prey or suffocate the very life out the animal. Because this constriction happens in water, it is thought that the animal the snake has caught could also drown.
Once the snake’s prey is dead, anacondas down it whole. A large animal can be a massive undertaking even for a large snake.
The Anaconda has a special mouth, however, to tackle these large animals. The snakes have an unfused ligament on each side of their mandibles. They also have mobile joints in their jaws and this allows them to open their jaws so wide as to get them right around the prey.
Fact 9 Sexual Maturity comes at 3–4 years of age
Green anacondas reach sexual maturity at about 3–4 years of age. Yellow anacondas breed annually, but the female green anacondas only breed every other year. This is because she has quite a hectic reproduction process and she needs to regain her strength and energy for the next reproduction orgy.
From March to May, these giant constrictors abandon their solitary lifestyles and spend a long time in mating. For many male green anacondas, these lusty pairings end in death.
The females start the mating process by leaving a trail of pheromones. The males then search for the females. The male’s forked tongue flicks as he gathers different scents from the ground and air. The Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the snake’s mouth enables the reptile to smell and locate prey.
The snake is also able to follow the trails of receptive female snakes ready to mate. The green anaconda is polyandrous – this means she practices polygamy – taking a number of mates from the many that have responded to her pheromones.
The snakes form a mass of writhing bodies. This is known as a breeding ball. The female anaconda snake is stimulated by the males’ spurs, and mating takes place with the male’s tail coiled around her.
These breeding balls last for a number of weeks with the female mating with many males. Female anacondas, both the Green and the Yellow, are bigger and stronger than the males and she has sway over who she mates with.
Fact 10 Eating the Males Tides the Female over the Long Gestation
As mentioned, the female Green Anaconda may well ingest a couple of males to tide her over the long gestation period that awaits her. She relies on this food when it becomes difficult for her to forage around.
Gestation will last 6 to 7 months. The impregnated female is ovoviviparous and incubates her eggs.
The young snakes are in clear membranes. When it is birthing time, the snake moves to shallow water and can give birth to about 80/90 live young, though it is more likely to be 20 to 40.
Babies are about 2 feet long. The young are independent of birth and the mother Anaconda doesn’t stay around to offer any parental supervision and care.
Anacondas aren’t endangered, but with the persecution they face from human beings, their numbers could be under threat.
They are falsely known as ‘man-eaters’, and while there are always stories coming up of humans being eaten by anacondas, none of the stories have been verified.
An Anaconda is however capable of eating a human even though humans are not their first choice of food. And only children would be one their menu. A fully grown adult might be too much for them to stomach.
If you are foolish to let your guard down and get too familiar and close to an Anaconda, you may have to fight for your life as the Anaconda prepares to make a meal of you.
Please leave a comment below and take some time to read: DO BALL PYTHONS MAKE GOOD PETS?