The Green Anaconda is a non venomous snake, and the heaviest snake in the world. They are found in South America. They are also among the largest snakes in the world. Although the Reticulated Python is the longest snake in the world, reaching more than 8.7 metres (29 feet) in length, it is nowhere near as heavy as the Green Anaconda. The Green Anaconda can be more than 5 metres long (16 feet) and it can weigh more than 227 kilogram (500 lb) and measure more than 30 centimetre (1 foot) in diameter. The longest and heaviest scientifically recorded green anaconda was a female green anaconda was 5.21 metres long (17 feet) but weighing only 97.5 kilograms (215 lb).
They have olive green skin with a pattern of black blotches across their entire bodies. These black blotches help them to camouflage very well into the thick forests. They have quite a small head compared to the size of their body. Their eyes and nostrils are high on top of the head. This allows the snake to see out of the water while staying completely under the water to attack their prey.
Green anacondas are found in South America in countries east of the Andes, including places like Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, the island of Trinidad and as far south as northern Paraguay. They live in swamps, low land which gets flooded when it rains and slow-moving streams. They enjoy most the tropical rainforests of the Amazon. They are quite slow and clumsy on land but when they are in the water they are extremely fast. That’s why green anacondas (which are active at night) prefer to live in or near the water. It’s also why green anaconda are sometimes called Water Boas. They spend more of their time in the water than any other boa.
Green Anacondas tend to float at the surface of the water with the snout barely poking out. They do not want their dinner to see them! When their meal comes near to drink some water by the stream, the hungry green anaconda will snatch the animal with its jaws. Then it will coil around their prey tightly with its massive body. Finally the creature will stop breathing and the green anaconda will swallow its dinner whole.
Their jaws are held together by elastic ligaments which allow its mouth to be opened much wider than the size of its head. It has a very slow digestive system. After swallowing an animal, it may take several weeks for it to completely digest its meal. Normally, after a big meal. it will go several weeks – sometimes for a few months – without food.
Green anacondas eat all kinds of animals such as fish, rats, turtles and other cold blooded animals. A large green anaconda will feed on larger prey like tapir, deer, capybaras and caimans. There are also cases where the larger female green anacondas eat up the smaller male green anacondas. However, there is no proof that green anacondas attack and eat people.
The green anaconda mother keeps her eggs inside her until they are hatch inside the mother. The mother will then give birth to her baby snakes. She can give birth to between 20-40 young snakes at one time. Sometimes, she can even produce as many as 100! Can you imagine 100 little green anacondas wriggling around!? These babies will be about 70-80 centimetres long (27-30 inches) when they are born. As soon as they are born they are ready to hunt and swim. Since they are born independent, they receive no parental care. After giving birth, the mother may lose half of her weight.
When they are babies, they are often eaten up by other animals. If they survive, their lifespan is about 10 years in the wild. Since they are cold blooded, changes in the surrounding temperature cold effect the green anacondas dramatically. If the temperature of the surroundings goes up, the green anacondas will do everything it can to prevent their bodies from over-heating. If the surrounding temperature drops, it will will lie in heated areas to help maintain their ideal temperature.
Apart from that, green anacondas regulate their body’s temperatures by changing the amount of their skin that is exposed to the sun. If the green anaconda is kept in tank which is uniformly heated and the snake finds its temperature rising, it could possibly die from over-heating. Even if not, over-heating changes the green anacondas’ shedding cycles and causes an illness called retention of eye caps. This can cause the green anaconda to go blind. Over-heated conditions will also turn the green anacondas to an aggressive beast.
The keeper of a captive green anaconda should use a simple heater and infra red light bulbs to maintain an optimum temperature in a man made tank. The green anaconda also needs to be exposed to ultraviolet radiation because that helps the snake to produce vitamin D, which it needs for its bones.