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The Anaconda

Updated on October 22, 2011

Anacondas are the largest snakes in the world and often reach a length of 25 to 30 feet and weigh over 300 lbs.

There are four different anaconda species which belong to the genus Eunectus



3.notaeus and

4. marinus.

Habits And Breeding

Anacondas have poor eyesight and hearing but are especially adept at sensing movement, especially nearby and has a very keen sense of smell and taste. Unlike most other snakes who can "taste the air" by flicking their tongue, the anaconda's tongue is not sensitive to outside stimulai except for touch. Anacondas have a special chemical receptor, (Jacobson's organ) which is a pair of small blind pouches or tubes that are situated one on either side of the nasal septum or in the buccal cavity and that are reduced to rudimentary pits in adult humans but are more developed in reptiles, amphibians, and some mammals as chemoreceptors.

Anacondas, can attain a length of up to 35+ feet and weigh over 300 lbs. They attain sexual maturity in 3 to 4 years and mate in December and January. The females gestation period is around 180-200 days with the number of resulting young depending largely on the size and overall health of the female but sometimes as many as a 90 to 100 may be born, (although around 20 to 30 babies around two to three feet in length are the normal result).

Unlike most other snake species which lay eggs, the anacondas are viviparous and thus give birth to live young. The babies emerge as perfect miniature replicas of their parents and within several days are ready to go out in search of their first meal which often consists of small lizards, frogs and rodents. In the graphic shown below, small nodules are present along the anacondas belly region, suggesting that they probably had legs at one time.

Hunting and Diet

Anacondas are carnivores (meat-eaters). They mostly hunt at night (they are nocturnal). Anacondas kill by constricting (squeezing) the prey until it can no longer breathe. Sometimes they drown the prey. Like all snakes, they swallow the prey whole, head first. The anaconda's top and bottom jaws are attached to each other with stretchy ligaments, which let the snake swallow animals wider than itself. Snakes don't chew their food, they digest it with very strong acids in the snake's stomach. Anacondas eat pigs, deer, caiman (a type of crocodilian), birds, fish, rodents (like the capybara and agouti), and other animals. After eating a large animal, the anaconda needs no food for a long time, and rests for weeks. The young (called neonates) can care for themselves soon after birth, including hunting (but are pretty much defenseless against large predators). They eat small rodents (like rats and mice), baby birds, frogs and small fish.

Green Anaconda

Member of the boa family, South America's green anaconda is, pound for pound, the largest snake in the world. Its cousin, the reticulated python, can reach slightly greater lengths, but the enormous girth of the anaconda makes it almost twice as heavy.

Green anacondas can grow to more than 29 feet (8.8 meters), weigh more than 550 pounds (227 kilograms), and measure more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) in diameter. Females are significantly larger than males. Other anaconda species, all from South America and all smaller than the green anaconda, are the yellow, dark-spotted, and Bolivian varieties.

Anacondas live in swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams, mainly in the tropical rain forests of the Amazon and Orinoco basins. They are cumbersome on land, but stealthy and sleek in the water. Their eyes and nasal openings are on top of their heads, allowing them to lay in wait for prey while remaining nearly completely


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    • profile image

      bob jr. 6 years ago

      that was very interesting and


    • profile image

      bob 6 years ago

      that was intresting

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      Tom Jones 6 years ago

      This is gr8888.

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      name is gorge 7 years ago

      10 years in wild and close to 30 in captivity

    • profile image

      my 8 years ago

      how long they live,