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The Green Anaconda: World's Heaviest Snake.

Updated on August 28, 2011

Anacondas have lovely coloration

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Suicide by snake!!  A green anacondaCapybara: often taken by anacondasDark Spotted AnacondaBeautiful Yellow AnacondaJaguar and anaconda battle.  The snake seems reluctant.  This "fight" is on several videos sites, like flikr..
Suicide by snake!!  A green anaconda
Suicide by snake!! A green anaconda
Capybara: often taken by anacondas
Capybara: often taken by anacondas
Dark Spotted Anaconda
Dark Spotted Anaconda
Beautiful Yellow Anaconda
Beautiful Yellow Anaconda
Jaguar and anaconda battle.  The snake seems reluctant.  This "fight" is on several videos sites, like flikr..
Jaguar and anaconda battle. The snake seems reluctant. This "fight" is on several videos sites, like flikr..

Anacondas Just Want to be Left Alone!


Thanks in the main to Hollywood (again), which has portrayed the poor Anaconda as ten times its size and weight in several asinine films; given it attributes of personality far better suited to the stars and directors of the movies (cunning, violence, sexual predation, etc). and damning the rather shy serpent as being consumed with thoughts of hunting man and having him for dinner.

All total crap, of course. Anacondas do not see man as prey; do not hunt them -in fact, I can’t find one documented account of an Anaconda killing and eating a human. Despite that, I am sure there has been the odd occasion when Homo sapiens in the Amazon has fallen victim to the genus “Eunectes Murinus,” (In Greek, “The good swimmer who eats mice!”). Although Anacondas do not target us, and are probably soundly afraid of man after our victimization of them, they are predators of opportunity, and a hungry Anaconda would, I’m sure, snatch a child in deep water if it was hungry. But few and not often.

A large specimen is certainly capable of subduing and eating a man. They regularly kill and eat caimans, deer, tapirs and capybara, although their normal fare would be slightly easier to catch and subdue: small mammals and reptiles, large wading birds and fish. There have been a couple of serious reports of an anaconda killing and eating a mature jaguar: that would be some feat…more likely is the jaguar killing and eating the snake. The truth being mostly is that they would stay away from one another. Predators in the wild are very careful to stay away from serious injury which would lead to predation and infection; there is little chance of an Anaconda subduing a fit, mature jaguar without being severely bitten and clawed by the powerful cat, (Unless it came upon the cat swimming in deep water...that would be another story).

Like all constrictors, such as Boas and Pythons, they first grasp prey with a powerful bite and then quickly throw coils of their muscular body over the trunk and suffocate by stopping the victim from breathing. The Asian Reticulated Python is actually longer than the Anaconda, but the South American snake is heavier in the body.

There are three species of Anaconda. The largest and heaviest, the creature of legend and celluloid, is the beautiful Green Anaconda. He is olive green with patches of black all down the body; yellow to orange stripes on the narrow head. Despite the rumours of snakes 60 to 120 feet in length, the largest captured and verified was 521cm. In length (18 feet 1 inch) and weighed just 214 pounds.

The other two species are the Yellow and the Dark Spotted Anacondas, both considerably smaller and more rare.

It might be worth noting that the World Conservation Society has offered a reward for many years for anyone catching any snake over 30 feet in total length - verified by them. The reward currently stands at $50,000, so is not to be sneezed-at. So far, no takers - not even close.

Anacondas spend most of their life in, or close to water. As ambush predators sometimes - like crocs - they lie just under the surface with their high placed eyes and nostrils just breaking the surface. Rather sluggish on land, they change into fast and streamlined swimmers in the water. There may be a case that much larger reptiles could be found in the deep Amazon and Orinoco rainforests where larger prey is also present.

The female is substantially larger than the male allowing her dominance where choosing a mate is concerned. Occasionally, a number of snakes consisting of one female and several males can be found intertwined as the males seek to become top dog and have the female press her sexual organs next to theirs, (rather like male members of POF!).. They usually mate, one-on-one, in the water, however and the situation has been little observed.

Once impregnated, the gestation is 6 to 7 months. Anacondas are ovoviparous, that is, they give birth to live young. Unlike venomous snakes, the young are little able to defend themselves and most are killed by other predators.

Anacondas are not easy to keep in captivity and do not make good pets. I always advise against keeping any large reticulating snake in captivity. They NEVER see you as their friend; at best, they see you as a warm fuzzy object that brings prey to them. People still insist on keeping reticulated pythons and these large reptiles still insist on occasionally eating them or their pets. In the case of the Anaconda, they are extremely aggressive and “Ectothermal,” as are all snakes to a lesser of greater extent. This means you will have to keep an eagle eye on their core temperature and the temperature of their water and pen. I wouldn’t have a large Anaconda in the house for any reason on Earth (except perhaps unless the choice was between the snake, Peter Mandleson, or Rosalind Franklin from Diggory Press!).

Now all the Anaconda lovers will mail me and tell me to “Leave their darlings alone!” (With pleasure!).


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Great job Bobby. When I was a kid, before I even started school, I used to love looking at books with pictures of snakes in them. When I finally got to visit a zoo, I found the snake house the most interesting. I outgrew my fascination with snakes, but at one time I thought they were so interesting. They still are of course, but I've moved on to other things.

      Voted this up and interesting and pinned it to my 'Wild Animals' board. I'll share it with my followers too. Hope you had a good weekend. xx

    • profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago

      They don't do well in captivity and have nasty natures anyway. Thanks for the interest in my hubs and good luck on here


    • laadhy profile image

      laadhy 5 years ago from Maldives- The Paradise on Earth

      i have seen several types of snakes in Dalian reptile museum. but haven't seen green anaconda. Dalian reptile museum is the largest in Asia. by the way interesting hub. thank you for sharing.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks one and all for recent commnents I read them all and am gratefull


    • Anjili profile image

      Anjili 5 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      Snakes give me the creeps. Can't stand keeping them near me. Instinct tells me to smash their heads to protect myself. I wonder what I would do infront of an anaconda. Probably pee in my pants.

    • Shaddie profile image

      Shaddie 6 years ago from Washington state

      I appreciated the realistic facts about Anacondas and the bashing of Hollywood's ridiculous fantasy idea of sensationalized snakes.

      Anacondas may be feisty, but for experienced snake keepers who yawn at the idea of droll Ball pythons, more challenging species may be desirable to them. For beginners, it is certainly not an ideal snake, but they have been kept and bred successfully in captivity by those who are confident and know what they are doing.

    • profile image

      howie 6 years ago

      wow that's large hehe

    • Cutters profile image

      Cutters 6 years ago from South Carolina

      That is funny! It never came to mind blue ...........Thanks !

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi I believe you would have the Blue Anaconda! Thanks for comment Bob

    • Cutters profile image

      Cutters 6 years ago from South Carolina

      I love your article even though I am a former anaconda owner and the only reason I do not have it any more is because I had to move out of state. If that had not happened I would still have it. No beef with me. Lot's of people get these animals with no clue on what they are getting themselves into. I actually had access to a yellow anaconda as well and I was going to try to mate my green and the yellow together to see what would happen but that never came to be!

    • profile image

      Garnetbird 7 years ago

      I am fascinated by reptiles and appreciated this! Check out my snake hubs with many ORIGINAL snake photos taken here in the Mts.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks fellow hubbers ...Bob

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Another wonderful article with facts about the anaconda which was so advertised by Hollywood with completely wrong facts.

    • profile image

      TTLark 7 years ago

      Big snake would hate to see that in my back yard

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      I am fascinated by snakes. I'm glad it's someone else holding this one though, Diogenes.