What’s the Biggest Snake in the United States?

Snakes get pretty big and it’s a wonder how they do. The size they can obtain is impressive. Here is a snake you may want to steer clear of.

What’s the biggest snake in the United States? The biggest snake in the United States is the anaconda. The green anaconda can grow over 29 feet and weigh more than 550 pounds.

Many people won’t encounter this huge beast. It’s not like it will show up in your backyard, but regardless, here are some interesting things about big snakes, including anacondas.

Anaconda: The Giant Snake

Anacondas, or water boas, are huge snakes! As I have already stated, they grow over 29 feet, weigh upwards of 500 pounds and their diameter is more than 12 inches. Females are generally bigger than males. They thrive in heat and humidity so they live in a habitat that is tropical, near rivers and swamps.

One might think that this would make it difficult to move or function at all. The size would really hinder it. Turns out, this animal is very aquatic! It spends almost all of its time in the water. Because of this, the extra weight that a tree couldn’t hold is held in the water because of buoyancy. Anacondas¬†are versatile in the water.

These snakes are the biggest snakes known to man in a length-to-weight ratio, but the longest snake in the world is the reticulated python at 30 feet long sometimes. A whole foot bigger than the anaconda. Then, of course, then you have the prehistoric bad boy Titanoboa which was 42 feet in length and an enormous 2,500 pounds. Wow.

Anacondas are generally stocky and muscular. All other physical characteristics about the snake are similar to other snakes. They do tend to keep their nostrils and eyes above water while submerged so as to breath and see.

There are four recognized kinds of anaconda:

  • Green anaconda
  • Yellow or Paraguayan anaconda
  • Dark-spotted anaconda
  • Beni or Bolivian anaconda

Bill Heyborn, a professor of biology at Southern Utah University, said that when most people say or think of the “Anaconda”, they are referring to the green anaconda, which as we know is popular because of it’s size. The green anaconda is also the biggest of the 4 anaconda¬†subspecies.

Invasion of Anacondas in the United States

In southern Florida, in the Everglades, anacondas have invaded the United States. This happened in the early 2000s. They are a giant, uncommon snake to encounter in the United States. Some researchers have said that some mammals that are native to the area have disappeared, like foxes and rabbits. Others are close to being gone, like raccoons and deer. Getting these snakes under control has been a struggle for authorities in Florida.

Fishermen who have fished in the areas where the anacondas have invaded have made claims as to what size they are but sometimes the memories of fishermen are bigger than the actual size of these snakes. It’s almost like a bigfoot thing.

The green anaconda has not really gained any attention as most other invasive species have. Which is probably why you have never heard of it. However, the state of Florida has had some concern for it, enough to include photos of green anacondas in a study guide for the “Python Challenge” hunting contest.

The “Python Challenge” was an open-ended contest to hunt Burmese pythons in the month of January 2013. It was open to anyone 18 or older and would be on state land. The purpose of this contest was the cut down on the invasive Burmese pythons in the area, but it barely made a dent. Only a couple dozen of them got captured. They do this challenge every year now. You can find more information here.

The green anacondas could pose a threat though. They have advantages over other animals. Fire ants won’t do anything to them because they can move after being stung by them and they give live birth to young so there are no eggs to eat.

They are excellent in the water. Their size would also scare off other large aquatic animals, like the alligator. I can’t blame them. I would not want to wrestle an anaconda on the land or in water. They could potentially become a huge ecological issue in the United States.

Anacondas in South American Myths

Anacondas have been around for a long time in South America in the Amazon basin. The natives have some pretty mysterious stories about them.

They were seen as unknown and mysterious creatures, sometimes appeared as shape-shifters or as the creator of the water. Sometimes they were more dangerous like human eating creatures or having healing abilities as magical creatures.

Giant Anaconda is an idea that there is a species of anaconda that is even bigger than the already huge anacondas out there. Often being reported as double the size of normal ones already documented by science.

If this interests you, here is a link.

An Anaconda’s Hunting and Eating Habits

Anacondas are carnivores, like all other snakes. Anacondas hunt at night. They hunt by constricting their prey. They will even drown prey sometimes. They are intimidating, to say the least. I know I would not mess with them.

Like any other snake, they also swallow their prey whole. I’ve always wondered how they fit so much past their jaw. Turns out that their top and bottom jaw are attached through flexible, stretchy ligaments that allow them to swallow animals much bigger than them. Both sides of their lower jaw are not connected to each other so that they can move freely to swallow prey.  They swallow them and then eating is over. So much for enjoying a meal.

After feeding, depending on how large the meal is, an anaconda can go for a long time without having a meal. It could be weeks or months. General meals are birds, fish, pigs, deer, and rodents. The babies eat small animals because they cannot compete with the larger ones.

In some cases, if an anaconda eats too big of a meal it can become seriously injured or die. I guess humans aren’t the only ones with big eyes sometimes. Fortunately, I haven’t been injured by a big meal. Most of the animals that could cause this are jaguars or caimans.

Since anacondas don’t chew their food, they have to digest it with very strong acids that lie in their stomach. After a meal, they rest for however long, depending on the meal. They generally find a place to hide after devouring a meal. Relatable. I usually hide in my room to watch Netflix until I digest my food.

An anaconda’s body uses a lot of energy to digest bigger meals and the process can take weeks possibly. They try to find a warm place so that their metabolism speeds up to digest faster.

Will an Anaconda Eat You?

Only the biggest constrictors could potentially eat you. Those are pythons and anacondas, both of which are nonvenomous. In theory, they could eat you, but there has been no recorded evidence. The most we have ever gotten was two strikes on anaconda researchers.

It seems that snakes just don’t want to eat humans. They aren’t interesting or appealing enough. In November 2014, Discovery Channel did something that made a lot of people ask the question, “Would a snake eat me?” They had created a TV special called, “Eaten Alive.” They were going to have a man dressed up in a snake-proof suit, covered pig’s blood to tempt the snake to eat him alive, hence the name.

The purpose was to see if the snake would do it. They figured that the snake would either regurgitate him or the crew would have the cut him out of the snake. Neither of which sounds humane but I don’t think that passed through their minds. The idea already sounds crazy.

In the end, the idea didn’t work and the man ended up having to have been saved by the constricting grip of the anaconda. The snake was probably confused about what happened.

Earth Touch News Network wrote an article about this event and created a couple of point for why an anaconda won’t eat you. I want to touch on a few of these points. 

“I can’t imagine why adding blood to a suit would make it more appealing to a snake.”

– David Steen

Most anacondas range from 9 feet to 30 feet. So an average of 15 feet maybe. That is not a whole lot of room for them to eat us. It’s just not a reality that would happen.

Even if you could “find favor” with the snake, you’d have to make a pretty complex suit to work with the snake’s ability to sense different things. When constricting, the goal is to suffocate the victim. The point is not to crush it.

According to research done on these constrictors is that they have an incredible sense for detecting their prey’s heartbeat. They will begin to lessen their grip when they feel the heartbeats slow down and the animal eventually dies. A wild snake is not going to eat something that they don’t know is absolutely dead.

Another reason is that the snake uses a lot of energy to squeeze the life out of something. It’s not going to waste energy on something that won’t be easy for it to kill or is foreign to it.

Assuming you or your suit has ways to get around those things, these snakes are not scavengers. David Steen, a wildlife ecologist, said, “I can’t imagine why adding blood to a suit would make it more appealing to a snake.”

Most snakes don’t have the ability to be scavengers. They don’t come suited with good eyesight. It is fairly bad. They rely on quick, sudden movement. Vibrations and heat signatures of other animals is what they rely on for another tasty meal. Basically, you’re going to want to be a dancing meal for them or playing the Wii.

We’ve already talked about how the jaw of the snake works to eat large meals. It’s not like it can dislocate its jaw. It swallows head first and it would have a difficult time getting past your shoulder girth The anaconda would most likely give up.

Snakes will regurgitate if they need to but if you got in there, it would difficult to come back out. If they feel threatened, they will regurgitate past food to move faster and escape. It wouldn’t be safe for the snake for a person in that suit to be pulled out. That’s where the ethics come in. According to Discovery, neither the snake nor the man was hurt. You can read some more entertaining information here.

So basically, in the end, you can’t get eaten by an anaconda or a python. it’s just not plausible for the snake and they know it. You’re not what it usually eats and it’s not going to waste time trying to figure out how.

Most Deadly Snakes in North America

North America has many different kinds of snakes. Maybe you would be interested to know what the most deadly are?

According to the Grand View Outdoors, these are the most deadly snakes in North America:

  1. Yellowbelly Sea Snake
  2. Tiger Rattlesnake
  3. Massasauga Rattlesnake
  4. Copperhead
  5. Coral Snake
  6. Cottonmouth
  7. Mojave Rattlesnake
  8. Timber Rattlesnake
  9. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
  10. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

There are other dangerous and venomous snakes out there besides these. If you were to get bitten by a venomous snake, call the poison control (800) 222-1222.

Related Questions

What’s the biggest anaconda ever recorded? The largest ever recorded was almost 28 feet long. Its girth was 44 inches. It was not weighed when caught, but scientists calculate it was over 500 pounds.

What is the biggest snake in history? The Titanoboa was discovered in an open-pit coal mine in Cerrejon in La Guajira, Colombia. It was prehistoric and estimated to be about forty feet long and 2500 pounds.

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