Creatures of the Amazon
The Anaconda

By Mike Collis
Probably one of the most well known and feared creatures on the Amazon is the Anaconda whose latin name is Eunectes murinus. Myths, tales and legends abound, there is even a feature film with the same name. Its size is the reason for its notoriety, because they are massive. They have been known to grow up to 28 feet long, have a girth of up to 44 inches and an approximate weight of around 550 lbs. Take a look at the record books and there is quite a lot of controversy over which snake is actually the biggest snake in the World. It is without doubt that the Asiatic Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) is the longest snake in the World measured up to 33 feet. However, it is also without any doubt that the Anaconda, with its massive body mass is the largest snake on Earth.

Anacondas kill their prey by coiling their large immensely strong bodies around their victims until it is crushed to death, suffocated or because Anacondas spend most of their time in the water they will simply hold their prey under water until it drowns. Anacondas are therefore included in the boa constrictor family of snakes and are non-venomous. Before devouring its victim the Anaconda unhinges itís jaws to an immense gape and then swallows its victim whole. Anacondas have been found with whole human bodies in their stomachs. Anacondas are aquatic snakes so it is most likely that it eats fish. Quite often though they have been known to eat: caimans (South American Alligators), snakes, capaybaras, majas, pecarries (jungle pigs), deer, and even jaguars. Out of water Anacondas are rather slow-moving creatures but in water they move very fast and can stay submerged for more than one hour. Add this to their stealth and the element of surprise and you have a formidable predator.
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