Anacondas are one of the most feared snakes in the world, mostly due to their incredible size. But these animals are special creatures that need to be recognized for their uniqueness and not feared because they are misunderstood. Although there are several types of anaconda, we’re going to cover some fun facts about green anacondas. The green anaconda is also known as the common anaconda and is typically the snake people are referring to when they say the word “anaconda.” Hopefully after you learn some neat information, you’ll have a new appreciation for these amazing animals and be a little less fearful of them.
#1 – They’re The World’s Heaviest Snake
Anacondas are feared mostly because of their size. They are non-venomous snakes, but are the heaviest snakes known to live on the Earth. Weights are difficult to study, as finding the snakes in the wild has become difficult due to the remote location of their habitats. However, the average size of an adult anaconda is 16.4ft in length and can weigh anywhere between 66 to 154lbs. The largest recorded specimen was a female measuring 17.06ft long and weighing 215lbs. Anacondas are the second-largest snake species in length behind the reticulated python, but the heaviest species in the world.
#2 – They Give Birth To Live Young
Unlike most reptiles, anacondas give birth to live young. Gestation lasts for about six to seven months and produces an average clutch of 20 to 40 babies. Females may lose up to half of their body weight after giving birth and do not eat during gestation. It’s thought that eating during gestation could damage the developing embryos, although no one really knows why the females withhold from food the entire time. Because of the strain it puts on their bodies, female anacondas only breed every other year.
#3 – They’re Great Swimmers
Anacondas spend most of their lives in water. They live in tropical climates in either rainforests or grasslands and are native to South America. Although they’re slow on land, they are capable of reaching considerable speeds in water. They lie in wait for prey with their bodies just beneath the water and their snouts sticking into the air, ready to snatch food as it passes by. It’s thought that anacondas are able to be submerged under water for up to 10 minutes.
#4 – They Can Eat Big Food
Hand in hand with the size of these snakes comes the size of their food. Anacondas are opportunistic feeders and will eat most animals from fish, birds, mammals and other reptiles. They are known to eat prey as large as capybara, tapirs, deer, caimans and even jaguars; although they rarely wish to fight with the larger prey and risk injury. Anacondas are also cannibalistic, where females are known to eat smaller males, particularly after breeding. It’s thought that since the female needs food soon after breeding to sustain the long gestation, she needs to eat soon after and the nearby male provides an easy target. Anacondas kill their prey by constriction – cutting off the blood circulation until the animal dies. They then swallow it whole.
#5 – They Probably Don’t Eat People
Although there have been reports of anacondas eating people, there are no documented cases. Although their size makes it quite possible for them to consume an adult human, herpetologists and other scientists find this highly unlikely. In 2014, Discovery Channel hosted a controversial episode of their show Eaten Alive, in which researcher and conservationist Paul Rosolie tried to get eaten by an anaconda. He apparently had a custom snake-proof suit that would keep him alive following ingestion, but after finding several anacondas in the wild and trying to be eaten by a captive snake, he was unsuccessful. The domestic animal did constrict him and it did begin to swallow part of his helmet before it back off on its own. In the end, Rosolie began to feel his arm break during constriction and since the snake wasn’t interested in eating him, he called his crew in to break him free of its grasp. Needless to say, if the snake had swallowed him, it would have been killed in order to try and get Rosolie out alive. A very stupid reason to kill an innocent snake – for the sake of a TV show.