DYK: The Green Anaconda, World’s Largest Snake.

Did you Know…

The Green Anaconda, whose scientific name is Eunectes murinus is the largest snake in the world. The giant snake, a member of the boa family, can live in its natural habitat in the wild for over 10 years, can grow up to 10 meters in length, over 12 inches in diameter and weigh up to 250 kgs. The snake can be identified by its olive green colour on its body which is overlaid by black patches along its entire body length. The females are usually larger than the males. When hatched, baby anacondas are about 61 centimeters in length, and are adapted to begin swimming and hunting for prey immediately they are free from the broken shells.

Inset: The Massive Green Anaconda

 The snake is mostly found in the semi-aquatic wilds of South America. These areas include the Amazon and the tropical rain forests of the Orinoco basins. In these marshlands and rainy forests, food is in abundance. The anaconda’s prey mainly includes turtles, caimans, jaguars, wild pigs, birds and capybara. Being silent killers which stalk and pounce on their prey, they are non-venomous constrictors that usually hold and kill their prey by coiling their massive and strong bodies around their prey. Usually, the captures prey is squeezed to death then swallowed whole. After a good meal of a wild pi or Cayman, the full anaconda finds a safe place to put up, as it digests the meal. They can go for week or months before they seek another meal again.

The species usually live solitary lives, hunting and feeding until the time of mating. Males usually find the females, and wrap their bodies around the females to copulate. Up to 20 males can wrap themselves around a single female, creating a breeding wall that can last up to 3 weeks. The breeding ball, like a slow moving wrestling match, ends up with the strongest and the one with most stamina joining its cloacae region to the female’s to mate. The females usually feed on their male counterparts, with the cannibalistic behavior being tied to the females requiring additional nutritious food after breeding to sustain the long gestation period that goes up to 7 months. They do not care for the young ones, which upon hatching can survive on their own.

Now you know!

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