Giant Anaconda

Eunectes murinus

Distribution: South America, tropical streams


African Rock Python


About this snake: Anaconda

One of the largest snakes in the world, the anaconda has been recorded up to a length of 37.5 feet. It is also the heaviest snake in the world at 550 pounds with a 30 cm (12 inch) or more diameter around the center of its body. It is usually found in close association with water, where it will lie in wait for mammals, waterfowl and even small crocodiles and caiman. Large adults are capable of killing juvenile tapir weighing 100 pounds or more. They have even been reported to attack jaguars and humans, although this is not common. Anacondas kill by constriction and are not venomous. When searching for food they normally wait in the water with nothing but their nose breaking the surface. When an animal stops to drink, the anaconda will grab it with its jaws and coil around the prey, squeezing it until it suffocates. When on land, the anaconda will most likely wait in a tree dropping down on their prey from above and again coiling around the animal and suffocating it. After suffocating their prey the anaconda will swallow it whole. Its hinged jaws allowing it to swallow prey that is up to 5 times the diameter of its mouth. After a meal it may be up to 2 years before the anaconda eats again.

The mating period for anacondas usually lasts from April to May. The anaconda, like all snakes, reproduces sexually and has internal fertilization. The female is usually inactive during mating season and does not move around, but waits for the males to seek her out. Although this does not seem necessary for breeding to take place, there are usually 2 to 12 males curled around one female. This is known as a breeding ball. Once in this position the snakes will stay for up to 2 to 4 weeks with the males wrestling for the privilege of mating with the female. The young are born live, usually in litters of 20 to 40, however it is possible for the litter to be as large as 100. The babies are about 2 feet long and will often refuse food for the first several months after birth.

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