Top 10 Interesting Anaconda Facts


Top 10 Interesting Anaconda Facts …

Green Anaconda
Green Anaconda by Ted cc2.0

Lurking in the water with only its eyes and nostrils above the surface, the green anaconda patiently waits for an animal to make the mistake of coming too close to the water’s edge. When pulled out of the water — a task that can take as many as fifteen adult humans — the green anaconda is easily one of the largest snakes in the world, large enough to swallow a small horse whole! Can’t get enough about this fearsome and amazing creature? Let’s take a look at the top ten interesting anaconda facts.

1. The largest anaconda ever captured…

…was 17 feet (5 meters) long and weighed 215 pounds (98 kilograms). That’s about as heavy as an adult black bear, and longer than a car!

While there are reports of green anacondas growing over 30 feet (9 meters) long, and even one report of an anaconda that was 37.5 feet (11.4 meters) long — almost as long as a bus — weighing as much as 550 pounds (249 kilograms), these have not been confirmed.

On average, green anacondas grow 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.6 meters) long and weigh around 100 pounds (45 kilograms). They are usually 1 foot (0.3 meters) in diameter, which means they are as thick as three to four rolling pins put together. Females are longer and heavier than males, since they need to carry eggs.

The green anaconda is the heaviest snake in the world, but not the longest. That spot belongs to the reticulated python, which usually grows up to 20 feet (6 meters) long. The longest reticulated python on record is Medusa, at 25 feet 2 inches (7.7 meters) long.

2. What is the scientific name for anaconda, and what does it mean?

Photo taken by Daniel10ortegaven cc3.0

The scientific name of the green anaconda is Eunectus murinus. Both come from Greek words.

Eunectus, means “good swimmer”, which the green anaconda definitely is — spending most of its time in the water, so much so that it is sometimes called the water boa. Why? Because of its size, the green anaconda has a hard time moving on land, but can easily drift across the water, and is even able to swim fast. Green anacondas can also hold their breath under the water for up to 10 minutes. When they want to dry off, they climb tree branches, hanging themselves out to dry instead of stretching out on land.

Murinus, on the other hand, means “of mice”, implying that green anacondas eat mice. While green anacondas can indeed eat mice like other snakes, they usually go after larger prey. After all, a large snake has a large appetite.

The name “anaconda” comes from the Tamil word anaikolra, which means “elephant killer”.

3. Green anacondas live an average of ten years in the wild.

There is a sort of rule that says that larger animals generally have longer lifespans. Whereas small snakes live 6 to 8 years, green anacondas live about 10 years in the wild. In captivity, they can live up to 30 years.

They start out about 2.6 feet (0.8 meters) long, growing rapidly in the first 18 to 36 months of life. After that, they grow very slowly.

4. Where anacondas live

Green anacondas are found in the Amazon, and in other swamps and marshes in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Venezuela, the Guianas and the island of Trinidad.

5. Do anacondas have teeth?

anaconda teeth
…and teeth. Smallish anaconda in Los Llanos by ferkel cc2.0

Anacondas are non-venomous snakes, but that doesn’t mean that they do not have teeth. Green anacondas have six rows of backward-pointing teeth, four on the upper jaw and two on the lower.

What does a green anaconda use its teeth for? You might wonder. After all, like other boas, anacondas swallow their prey whole. The answer is that anacondas use their sharp teeth to latch on to their prey, preventing it from escaping as they wrap their bodies around it and slowly suffocate or crush it to death.

6. Can anacondas eat humans?

A green anaconda can open its mouth up to 180 degrees wide, stretching the ligaments of its jaw to swallow large prey whole. This makes people wonder — can anacondas eat humans? Do anacondas eat humans?

Anacondas can, in fact, eat humans alive, especially children. As for whether or not we are a part of the green anaconda’s regular diet, the answer is no. Green anacondas prefer prey that does not put up much of a fight, and will only go after humans when they are starving. To date, there is no record of a green anaconda killing or eating a human.

For more information visit Top 15 Most Dangerous Animals in the Amazon Rainforest

7. A green anaconda’s diet

Senckenberg, Anaconda
Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus) devours a capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) of 50 kilograms. Exhibit in the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt am Main. By Gerbil cc3.0

Anacondas aren’t picky eaters. They can eat just about anything — mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Normally, they eat capybaras — the largest rodents, which can grow over 4 feet (1.2 meters) long — as well as tapirs, deer, ducks, turtles, dogs and sheep. They have been known to eat jaguars and caimans as well. Anacondas are also known for eating other snakes, including each other. Female anacondas, especially, are known to eat the smaller males, particularly after breeding.

Green anacondas do not eat regularly. A meal can last them for months. When pregnant, female anacondas do not eat, since they do not want to risk losing their young while hunting.

8. During the breeding season, anacondas form “balls”.

Green anacondas form what are called “breeding balls”. This is because there are more males than females — and many males, up to a dozen of them, usually end up finding the same female to mate with.

The males wrap around the female, forming a ball, for 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, they wrestle for position and usually, the strongest male ends up winning, mating with the female.

9. Green anacondas give birth to live young.

Some snakes lay eggs, but green anacondas are among the snakes that give birth to live young. For 8 to 12 weeks, the females carry the eggs inside their bodies — around twenty to eighty of them. When the eggs are ready to hatch, the female gives birth. The young are fully independent from birth, able to swim and hunt, and as such, are left alone by their mothers.

10. Is the anaconda endangered?

Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)

A young anaconda’s predators include foxes, tegu lizards, caimans, birds (like the crested caracara) and adult green anacondas. Adult anacondas have no natural predators other than humans, who hunt them for their skin or capture them to be sold as pets, both of which are now considered widely illegal. This, however, has little effect on their population and green anacondas are known to be threatened more by loss of habitat. Even so, the green anaconda is not currently considered an endangered species.

Anacondas are featured in the following books:
25 Top Predators in the World
25 River Monsters
25 Awesome Snakes
25 Amazon Rainforest Animals

The YouTube video below is a collection of videos about Anacondas. The list of videos featured is underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Best ’08! Anaconda Hunts by National Geographic
  2. Anacondas: Tracking Elusive Giants in Brazil by ABCNews
  3. Attenborough – Anaconda gives birth underwater – by BBC’s Life in Cold Blood
  4. La Anaconda vs El caiman by LARZperu
  5. 15 Most Dangerous Animals in the Amazon Rainforest by IP Factly



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