Everything you wanted to know about the green anaconda

When it comes to animals, arguably nothing is cooler than the green anaconda. This reptile is perhaps one of the most fascinating species on our planet. While it may seem somewhat unimpressive at first glance — after all, if you’ve seen one snake, you’ve seen them all, right? — this massive beast is an intimidating creature and definitely one that deserves your respect. Not only is this snake literally the largest one known to mankind, it’s also the most unassuming predator out there. Not convinced? Oh, don’t worry. The prowess of this animal speaks for itself!

So, how big is it exactly?

When we say that the green anaconda is big, we don’t mean that it’s large for, like, a snake. To imply such a thing would be a great disservice to this majestic reptile. No, we mean that it’s downright enormous. If you mistakenly believed that snakes are those three-foot creatures that crawl around in the underbrush, then you haven’t ever laid your eyes upon the green anaconda. This fella grows up to 30 feet in length (or about the length of a school bus). Of course, locals have reported sightings of these snakes growing up to a hundred feet or more, but zoologists can at least verify claims of them reaching up to 30 feet. And how heavy do they get? Um, how does 550 pounds sound to you? To put it into perspective, that’s about half the weight of a polar bear. Yup. Impressed yet?

Photo: Getty Images

Where can a green anaconda be found?

If you’re curious about encountering a green anaconda in its natural habitat, than you’re more than likely going to have to board an airplane and head to South America. Green anacondas are fairly common there, and can normally be found in swampy areas and tropical rainforests (like the Amazon, for example). Green anacondas prefer to stay in or near the water, as they can move quite gracefully in it. Once they’re on land, though, they can be somewhat slow-moving and clumsy. However, if jetting off to South America sounds like too much work to get a glimpse of one of these snakes, you can view them in many zoos across the world. The United States has them at the St. Louis Zoo, San Diego Zoo, and even the Jacksonville Zoo.

What do green anacondas eat?

If you ever wondered what a green anaconda preferred to snack on, the answer is surprisingly simple: whatever it can wrap its jaws around is fair game. While there are no official reports of them dining on humans (and some studies have proven that that’s perhaps the one thing they can’t eat), anything else is up for grabs on the menu. Green anacondas are apex predators, which means that they’ll nosh on just about anything. While they typically prefer to eat smaller animals (such as large rodents, lizards, or fish), there has been evidence that they’ve consumed jaguars before, too. However, the risk of getting injured is pretty high, so they tend to shy away from fast food. (Get it? Because jaguars can run fast…?)

Are green anacondas venomous?

Fortunately for us, green anacondas are not venomous snakes. Instead, they’re a type of constrictor. That means that instead of biting their prey to incapacitate it, they instead wrap it up in a bear hug. The animal passes out mercifully, all within about five seconds. The anaconda then swallows it whole and slowly digests it over the course of several days to several weeks. After eating, the green anaconda is usually satisfied for up to six months before they need to eat again. Pretty efficient, right?

Photo: Getty Images

Where do baby green anacondas come from?

Well, you see, when a daddy anaconda and a mommy anaconda love each other very much…okay, joking aside, the courtship of an anaconda is fairly simple. The female gives off a scent (known as “pheromones”), which signals to the male anaconda that she’s ready to reproduce. The female anaconda typically gestates for up to seven months, and unlike some snakes which lay eggs, she gives birth to live babies. She can produce up to fifty live young when she finally does give birth, but smaller sized clutches are more common. These young are born independent, and the mother doesn’t stick around to watch them grow up. After about three or four years, they reach full maturity of their own, and the cycle then repeats.
See? What did we tell you? The green anaconda is a pretty dang fascinating animal. From its eating habits to its lifestyle, no other animal on Earth comes close to its uniqueness and quirky idiosyncrasies!

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“I left my news reporting days behind me, in favor of telling stories that’ll put a smile on people’s faces. Find me at your local cat cafe.”