The anaconda is a member of the boa family of snakes. Anacondas are one of the world’s heaviest snakes, also known for being very large in size. The anaconda can grow massive in length, so long that it has been rumored on occasion to reach over 30 feet in length! These snakes have a body shape that makes them more suited to being aquatic rather than terrestrial snakes. They have sleek bodies with scales that are clear and reflective on their bodies.
- The anaconda is the largest snake globally and has one of the biggest venom glands of any snake. Anacondas can swallow their prey whole, which helps them get further down their meal without getting caught by their teeth. The anaconda can hibernate for long periods of time (up to six months) during the cold winter months. They will often crawl up inside tree trunks and other natural shelters during this time frame.
- Anacondas are very efficient hunters that can wrap around their prey while they squeeze the air out of the victim with muscles in their neck. A snake of this size would be tough to swallow in one piece and is likely unable to do so due to its large amount of digestion and digestive fluids. The fluid in the snake’s stomach is shot into the prey’s belly and serves as a lubricant when it is squeezed into the body. Anacondas have consumed huge prey items such as wild boars, water buffaloes, deer, pigs, monkeys, etc.
- Anacondas tend to eat smaller snakes when they are small. They will also eat other organisms such as rodents or even birds if they can catch them. The anaconda is considered a “fierce predator” but will often eat smaller snakes in the same general area when they are in the midst of hunting prey.
- Anacondas are thought to be nocturnal in nature, but in reality, this snake is most active during the day in the morning and evening when they can hunt or spend time basking on rocks or logs. Anacondas are believed to spend most of their time sleeping during the day when they feel safe enough to do so. Anacondas will actually lie motionless beneath dead trees waiting for floating ants, crickets, frogs, etc., to come by and fall into their mouth. Snakes can also go with it and swallow these prey items whole without even noticing the small creature that it has just eaten.
- The anaconda, unlike many other snakes, becomes sexually mature around age five or six years old. It is not uncommon for males to have the words “ball python” tattooed on them to let other members of its species know that they are ready to mate with another male snake. The female anaconda will lay 10 – 30 eggs in one year at a time. These eggs are deposited in a nest formed by leaf litter, usually hidden away in caves, rocks, trees, etc. The young snakes can then hatch out of their eggs after anywhere from 25 to 28 days.
- The anaconda has no known natural predators that can take down such a large snake as this. The majority of this snake’s life is spent in the water and therefore does not need to worry about humans or other creatures taking it down. It is believed that the anaconda uses its venom to both kill prey and defend itself. It has been observed that the anacondas who did suffer from bites did not die and likely did not even get very sick from them as many other snakes would. Adult anacondas have been known to move backward by up to 0.9 miles or more per hour.
- The anaconda is a well-known snake that often makes the front page of the newspaper in South America when they consume a large wild boar. Unfortunately, the anaconda is also one of the most terrifying snakes to see in person if you get to view one up close and personal. There are many rumors about the size of these snakes, but actual sightings have been scarce and unconfirmed. The longest verified anaconda was found in the year 2000, and it measured out to be 29! feet long.