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Green Anaconda

For most of us, a green anaconda would make an improbable pet. You can’t walk it like a dog (no legs!), sing to it like a bird (no ears!), or cuddle up with it like a cat (just no!). This Amazon constrictor wraps around its prey like a skin-tight corset and suffocates it. It does not crush it, as is commonly mistaken, since jagged broken bones would hurt the snake as it swallowed its meal whole.

But the really big reason you probably wouldn’t keep this snake as a pet is its size. Biologists agree that the green anaconda is the largest snake in South America and possibly in the world – but no one agrees on the record-setting length. “Eye-witness” reports vary – a lot like fishermen’s stories. Twenty-six feet is the best-documented maximum length. With a corresponding weight of 400 pounds, it’s definitely the heaviest snake in the world.

A big snake eats a big meal. The green anaconda’s loosely connected jaw can stretch as needed to accommodate extra large or wide prey. People are not on the menu, but caimans (similar to alligators), capybaras (100-pound South American rodents) and deer are. After downing just one of these animals, the green anaconda can survive for months before eating again—the ultimate food coma!

Green anacondas are found in the sluggish waters of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. Because liquid supports their weight, they can outgrow such tree-dwelling snakes as the large pythons. You’ll find Shedd’s
14+-foot green anaconda in Amazon Rising, usually distributing her weight around a half-submerged log.


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