About the World's Largest Snake

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With its weight reaching that of several adult-size humans, and its length growing as long as a city bus, the green anaconda is the largest snake in the world. Able to eat animals as large as deer and wild pigs, the green anaconda does not show a regular urge to eat people. We should consider ourselves lucky, since this giant snake could certainly manage it!

The Facts

  • The green anaconda (Eunectes murinas) is a member of the boa family that comes from South America. It is a nonvenomous constrictor that squeezes the life out of its prey before swallowing it whole. Though it has been known to climb trees and lay out in the sunlight to soak up heat, the green anaconda spends most of its time in the water. Many of the animals that make up the green anaconda's diet are aquatic, such as turtles and water birds, though it has been known to eat land animals when they are available. This snake can live 10 to 30 years, depending on the environmental conditions surrounding it.

Size

  • The green anaconda is considered the largest snake because of its length, weight and width. On average, these snakes can be about 20 feet long, though some have reached 25 to 30 feet. Usually they will reach a width of 11 to 12 inches in diameter. And weightwise, this is no thin specimen. The average weight of a green anaconda is 330 lb., though some snakes have reached almost 500 lb. when their diet and living environment is right.

Identification

  • The overall coloring of the green anaconda is an olive green, with black blotches or spots running over the entire body. This snake has a narrow head with orange-yellow stripes on the side, with eyes located at the top of the head near the nostrils. This helps the snake because it stays in the water most of the time, waiting for prey.

Geography

  • The green anaconda prefers to live in areas of the South American tropical rain forest that are near bodies of water. Usually they are found along the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, in areas of Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Guyana and Trinidad.

Risk Factors

  • Like many anacondas, the green anaconda can be an aggressive snake that is prone to biting at anything it feels is threatening it. They grow to a very large size and can kill adult pigs and deer, which means they could easily kill a human being if they wanted to. Though people are not their normal prey, if a green anaconda constricted a human, there is a good possibility that person could be seriously injured or worse. Green anacondas also show violence and even cannibalistic tendencies toward their own kind. The females have been known to devour males after mating to gain nutrients they will lose when giving birth to young.

Misconceptions

  • Though the green anaconda is the largest snake in the world, it is not actually the longest. This title goes to the reticulated python, which can reach lengths of over 32 feet.

  • Photo Credit The XO Directory
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