Anacondas are four species of aquatic boa inhabiting the swamps and rivers of the dense forests of tropical South America as well as the southern swamps of the island of Trinidad. The Yellow Anaconda can be found as far south as Argentina.
Body Builder: The Anaconda come equipped with a large head and a thick neck. Its eyes and nostrils are positioned on the top of the head, enabling the Anaconda to breathe and to see its prey while its stocky body lays submerged under water. The extremely muscular Anaconda is a constrictor and is not venomous; however, it still has teeth and powerful jaws that it utilizes to clench onto its prey. It grabs its victim and pulls it underwater, drowning the prey.
Specific Diets: They typically feed on large rodents, tapirs, capybaras, deer, peccaries, fish, turtles, birds, sheep, dogs and aquatic reptiles like caiman. They have been known to occasionally prey on jaguars and attacks on humans can be confirmed, although this is rare. Younger Anacondas feed on mice, rats, chicks, frogs and fish. Most local people kill these snakes on sight, out of the fear that they are man-eaters. In most instances, if an Anaconda senses humans in the area, it will retreat in another direction. Human death by Anaconda is quite rare.
Surprise Attack: Anacondas are usually coiled up in a murky, shallow pool or at the river's edge. They wait to ambush their unsuspecting prey when they come down for a drink. Anacondas bite their prey with their sharp teeth, hold on with their powerful jaws and pull them under water. The victim may drown first or it may be squeezed to death in the Anaconda's muscular coils. Anacondas, true to the Boa family, constrict their hapless victims to death. The snake squeezes tighter each time its prey breathes out, so the prey cannot breathe in again. Suffocation does not take long. Anacondas swallow their prey whole, starting with the head. This is so the legs fold up and the prey goes down smoothly. The Anaconda can swallow prey much bigger than the size of its mouth since its jaw can unhinge and the jaw bones are loosely connected to the skull. While the snake eats, its muscles have wave-like contractions, crushing the prey even further and surging it downward with each bite.
Need some dental work? Just about every species of snake on earth has teeth, but the anacondas' teeth are not used for chewing. Most snakes' teeth are used for holding onto their prey, preventing them from escaping. Some snakes have venom in two specially designed, extra long teeth which they use to kill their prey. Anacondas have teeth, but they are not a venomous snake. They rely on their enormous size and power to subdue their victims. It is possible to be bitten by an anaconda, but the bite itself would not be fatal.
Growth Spurts: An Anaconda, like all large species Boas and Pythons, continue to grow throughout their lives. Their growth speed reduces after reaching maturity but these snakes possibly reach 50 or 60 years of age, some maybe 80.
Like almost all boas, Anacondas give birth to live young.
Giant Anaconda: There are some historical reports of early European explorers of the South American jungles seeing giant anacondas up to 100 feet long and some of the native peoples of the South American jungle have reported seeing anacondas up to 50 feet long. No one has caught and measured an Anaconda anywhere near that size. Additionally, it is important to note that there is nothing in their natural habitat that could satisfy the feeding requirements of an Anaconda that size.
Excess Weight Loss: When it sheds, an adult anaconda relieves itself of an average of 2 pounds of skin. An anaconda's skin can stretch up to 30% larger than the original size of the snake.
The greatest age known for any snake is just under 30 years.
This amazing age has been attained by both the anaconda and the black-lipped cobra.