There are several snakes that set some very high records among the snake community, and the anaconda is among them, having some intense feats of its own. These snakes are mysterious constrictors that live in the Amazon, so there is still lots to learn about them, but the few things that we do know about them are incredible. Keep reading to learn 27 interesting facts about this amazing snake.
1- Anacondas Are Boa Constrictors
Anacondas are in Boidae or Boa family of snakes and given their constricting nature, they are technically boa constrictors. Their genus is Eunectes which means good swimmer in Greek. For more information on the family or genus of anacondas check out the Live Science article on the anaconda, w
2- There Are 4 Types of Anaconda
That’s right, there are 4 types of anacondas and they are generally named based off of their color. They are the green anaconda, dark-spotted anaconda, yellow anaconda, and the Beni or Bolivian anaconda. Green anacondas are the most famous, as they are huge snakes that are renowned for their incredible muscular power and amazing hunting techniques.
Each of the other anacondas ranks much lower on the scale of size and power with the Beni following the green and the yellow and dark-spotted tying for the smallest. Even at the smallest rank, the yellow and dark-spotted anacondas average 9 feet in length.
3- Green Anacondas are the Largest Boa Constrictors
Green Anacondas are so large that they take the prize in their family as being the largest boa constrictor. The largest green anaconda was found to be 28 feet long. While this is beaten in length by the reticulated python, the 28-foot green anaconda was 44 inches thick, making her over twice the thickness of a reticulated python. For this reason, some claim the green anaconda as not just the largest boa constrictor, but as the world’s largest snake.
4- Anacondas Spend Most of Their Time in the Water
While anacondas are large it is rather hard to find them as they spend most of their time in the water. Their large size is then hard to determine at times and given that anacondas frequent the deadly Amazon river, there is no firm estimate on the number of anacondas alive.
Anacondas use the water as an effective way to move their large bodies through the water. There are several added perks to this, such as the natural camouflage that the snakes have as they move through the murky waters of the Amazon.
5- Anacondas Are Stealthy Despite Their Large Size
One of the amazing features of the anaconda is that despite their large size they are able to be stealthy because of several factors. First, by remaining in the water most of their body is obscured under the water. Additionally, whether on land or in the water slithering is a stealthy way for the snake to travel. This seems to be the original evolutionary purpose of snakes, as a species, discarding their limbs.
As their limbs were a hindrance in stealthy and burrowing environments. The result is the ability for most snakes to move silently on land and in the water. Anacondas have great speed in water as well. They are able to reaches speeds over 20 miles per hour in water. Given the murky nature of the water though, the anaconda can move this quickly while being obscured by the dark waters of the Amazon.
6- Anacondas Track the Heat of Their Prey
Snakes, in general, have a long list of extraordinary senses and just like people, snakes have found unique ways to use them. For the Anaconda, their heat sensing, which is like a sixth sense that we don’t have, is one of their primary tracking methods. As they are aquatic creatures the water around them obscures their vision so they rely on this heat sensor of theirs until they can poke their head above the water just for a second to gauge the distance between them and their prey.
7- Anacondas Can be Submerged For Ten Minutes
On top of their already powerful and stealthy nature the anaconda can remain underwater for ten minutes. This becomes a powerful tool when they are hunting as they’ll pop up just for a second to gain a sense of where their targets are and then they’ll slip back down to hide from their prey. So when they attack they could have spent anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes under water. You’ll never know when they’ll strike.
8- An Anaconda’s Eyes And Nostrils Are on Top of Its Head
So even after spending ten minutes, all the anaconda has to do is poke the tip of their head out from under the water. This allows them to both look around and breath. So in the murky water of the Amazon, good luck picking out the nose of an anaconda from the foliage that rests on the water.
9- Green Anacondas are the Heaviest Snakes
When you are wide, you are generally heavy. Anacondas confirm this by clocking in as the heaviest snake in the world. Some have measured over 550 pounds. And if you thought that snake may be in some need of a workout, know that that snake was all muscle and able to constrict creatures that were easily over 200 pounds in weight. So while these snakes get heavy, they aren’t lazy.
10- The Anaconda’s Primary Killing Mechanism is Constriction
Several snakes use varying means to kill their prey. For the anaconda, they stick to constriction. This means that they wrap their bodies around their prey until they have squeezed the life out of them. With each exhale of the creature, the snake grips tighter and tighter making their prey that much more uncomfortable with each breath.
11- Contrary to Popular Belief Anacondas Don’t Suffocate Their Prey
Most people claim that anacondas, as well as other constrictors, suffocate their prey. This isn’t true; the anaconda wraps itself around creatures to cut off blood flow to the brain of the creature. This cut off brain flow sends the animals into cardiac arrest and eventually kills the creatures.
This results in a much quicker death than suffocation. So a creature’s breath has nothing to do with whether the anaconda is doing its job or not. Watch out, those hundred pounds of weight are trying to squeeze the blood from your brain.
12- Anacondas Eat the World’s Largest Rodents
Capybaras are the world largest rodents. They weigh in at over 150 pounds. These herbivores eat the aquatic plants the grow just at the edge of where the land meets water, leaving them in the perfect position for an anaconda to strike.
As soon as the anaconda has the Capybara in its jaws, it’s just a matter of time before the snake can tighten its body enough to cut off blood flow to the brain and then it’s just a matter of fitting the creature into the anacondas mouth. To see footage of this hunt follow this link to a YouTube video on this fight.
13- Anacondas Have Flexible Jaws
Anacondas jaws are not attached to their skulls. This allows for the anaconda to stretch its mouth to the size of the largest part of its body. Generally the head and neck of the anaconda are rather thin but after the first couple of feet it expands into a thicker diameter.
So the largest Anaconda with her 44 inch diameter could open her mouth 44 inches wide. That’s terrifying to think about. To keep their size, they generally need to eat creatures that will fit that diameter. Which is where the world’s largest rodents fit the bill.
14- Female Anacondas Are Larger Than Male Anacondas
This is common in the snake world but the females of the anacondas are larger than the males of their species. This generally occurs because of needs concerning the birth of babies in a snake. Since anacondas carry their eggs inside them, it is really no surprise that the females need to be larger to accommodate the extra egg package that they’ll be keeping inside their body.
15- Anacondas Are Cannibals
As if anacondas weren’t scary enough there have been several cases where female anacondas have eaten their smaller male counterparts. This isn’t a common occurrence and it doesn’t seem that the anacondas are large fans of eating other snakes, but they will eat their own kind.
Talk about not wanting to insult a woman. Upset a female anaconda and she just might eat you. These tendencies are most apparent during mating season. Good luck male anacondas, good luck.
16- Males Will Wrestle Over a Female
They don’t just wrestle each other for the right to mate with the female, no anacondas literally wrestle over the body of a female. So those snakes that aren’t scared of potentially being consumed by their mate will wrestle each other over the body of the female anaconda.
The winner is the snake that is first to make it to the cloaca of the female snake. This snake then covers the cloaca with a wax plug preventing any of the other wrestlers from fertilizing the female. These fights can get quite intense especially when there can be up to 13 snakes involved in these attempts to mate. Given their size that is one huge mess of snake.
17- Anacondas Can Move Through Sidewinding
Sidewinding is a curious form of moving that some slithering creatures can perform which involves swinging a large part of the snake’s body into a J of sorts and then extending the length of the snake’s body from that collapsed J structure.
It can seem to make the snake move very quickly and sends them in a direction opposite of where you would expect based on the coils of the snake’s body. This form of movement is very cool to see in action. To experience this yourself check out this Sidewinding Anaconda YouTube Video.
18- Anacondas Have Never Reportedly Eaten a Person
Snakes that get too large sizes are always something to concern yourself with as they are often deadly. Anacondas however have never reportedly eaten a person before. For all the scientific evidence out there, it seems possible that an anaconda could eat a person but there has yet to be a case where this has happened. But it’s best not to try to disprove this record right? Well, someone tried.
19- Someone Tried Having an Anaconda Eat Them
In 2014, the Discovery Channel put on a program called Eaten Alive which was all about a man, Paul Rosolie, who tried to be eaten by a green anaconda. The experiment was to test this experimental snake-proof suit that was supposed to stand up to the bites and constrictive power of the anaconda. The experiment went south immediately as the anaconda wasn’t interested in eating the suited up Rosolie and instead tried to flee.
After several attempts to bait the anaconda into eating him, such as dousing himself in pigs blood, Rosolie had to resort to provoking the anaconda. This didn’t go well, as the anaconda wrapped itself around Rosolie’s arm almost breaking it. Ultimately Rosolie had to have his team help him get the snake off and the experiment was abandoned.
20- There Are Several Myths About Anacondas in South America
There are several myths that reside around the anaconda. They vary in mean and theme but each mention the power of the anaconda. The anaconda is sometimes shown as a shape-shifter, as the creator of the water. However, they are also seen as vicious human-eaters, or as magical, spiritual beings with healing properties.
Perhaps the longest myth about anacondas is the myth of the giant anaconda. Similar to the Loch Ness monster, there are circling reports about this creature every so often. The giant anaconda is supposedly over 150 feet long and as such is the devourer of enormous creatures.
21- Anacondas Have Been Reported to Be 100 Feet Long
Several people have claimed seeing anacondas that are 40, 50, even 100 feet long. These seem to give merit to the theory of the giant anaconda, but there is no scientific evidence of this creature and is more likely a theory springing from what an underwater anaconda looks like when they are shedding.
Given their long bodies, it takes time for their skin to come off and as a result, they pull their skin behind their bodies for sometime this doubles their size but add to that anything that the anacondas skins have collected as it swam by, and you have a terrifying display of length on a creature. Add to this the murky colors added to everything based on the Amazon’s dirty water and you have alleged sightings of the giant anaconda.
22- Anacondas Live in the Amazon
So this is one of the most important details of anacondas. Since they live in the Amazon and the Amazon is relatively unexplored due to the danger that the Amazon poses based on the creatures in its waters, little is known about the anaconda or any of its habits.
23- Anacondas Can Go a Year Without Eating
Snakes have some incredibly low metabolisms based on certain mechanisms in their bodies that allow them to conserve energy and therefore use less energy.
The anaconda has an incredible ability to use this as, combined with their large size, there are rumors that an anaconda can wait up to a year between meals so long as their meal is big enough. Two months waits have been seen as common and a 6-month wait between meals has also been confirmed.
24- Anacondas Give Live Birth to Their Babies
Several snakes lay their eggs but this isn’t really the case for an anaconda. The go through a process of live birth where they lay their eggs inside their body and release their young once they have hatched from their eggs.
There is a large range of successfully hatched eggs in an anaconda clutch, and they can have anywhere from 3 to 40 babies. Since this is all live birth, they all exit their mother and move on instantly independent.
25- Anacondas Can Live up to 30 Years in Captivity
Anacondas are not usually a long-living species. In the wild, they live to about 10 to 12 years. This number increases in captivity because of all the food that they are given, whereas in the wild it is difficult for them to maintain the amount of food that they will need to survive, as while the anacondas continue to grow older, they also continue to grow, and the more you grow the more you have to eat. So hunting gets much harder for older anacondas.
26- Anacondas Are Hunted For Their Skin
Anaconda skin is considered a commodity as people tend to like the pattern of the snake. Since there is no way to know how many anacondas are alive, the hunting of them for their skin is frowned upon, especially as they are dangerous creatures to hunt.
27- Anacondas Have Been Known to Eat Jaguars
Among the larger predators that the anaconda eats is the jaguar. Just when you think the anaconda can’t surprise you… then it swallows a cat. Jaguars are large creatures easily reaching 2.5 feet in size so it is an impressive feat for the anaconda to eat these creatures. Not to mention that the anaconda swallows these creatures whole.
Are anacondas good pets? Anacondas are not good pets because of how much you will have to feed them. While snakes only need to eat once every so often, the large size of the anaconda forces that meal to be large. So based purely off of a resource standpoint, anacondas are not the best choice. Additionally, when it comes to these large snakes, you’ll want to have at least another person in the room to be watching while you’re feeding them just in case anything happens.
Do anacondas eat humans? There have been no recorded cases of an anaconda eating a person, but it is possible. The largest constrictors in the snake world are considered man-eaters and while the reticulated python is the only one that has proven to eat a person, the anaconda does seem capable of doing the same.
What eats anacondas? Anacondas are very high on the food chain. The only things that kill anacondas are Jaguars and Humans. Now in regard to jaguars, they are also eaten by anacondas so the fight can go either way, but generally the fight goes to the anaconda. And of course, humanity lives at the top of most food chains so we have the capabilities to both hunt and eat anacondas, though it is generally not worth the effort.