The largest snakes in the world, anacondas can grow to 550 pounds (227 kilograms).
Photograph by Ed George
Average life span in the wild:
20 to 30 ft (6 to 9 m)
Up to 550 lbs (227 kg)
Bed or knot
Did you know?
In mating, several competing males form a breedingball around one female that can last up to four weeks.
Size relative to a bus:
Member of the boa family, South America’s green anaconda is, pound for pound, the largest snake in the world. Itscousin, the reticulated python, can reach slightly greater lengths, but the enormous girth of the anaconda makes it almost twice as heavy.
Green anacondas can grow to more than 29 feet (8.8 meters),weigh more than 550 pounds (227 kilograms), and measure more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) in diameter. Females are significantly larger than males. Other anaconda species, all from South America andall smaller than the green anaconda, are the yellow, dark-spotted, and Bolivian varieties.
Anacondas live in swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams, mainly in the tropical rain forests of theAmazon and Orinoco basins. They are cumbersome on land, but stealthy and sleek in the water. Their eyes and nasal openings are on top of their heads, allowing them to lay in wait for prey while remainingnearly completely submerged.
They reach their monumental size on a diet of wild pigs, deer, birds, turtles, capybara, caimans, and even jaguars. Anacondas are nonvenomous constrictors, coiling theirmuscular bodies around captured prey and squeezing until the animal asphyxiates. Jaws attached by stretchy ligaments allow them to swallow their prey whole, no matter the size, and they can go weeks ormonths without food after a big meal.
Female anacondas retain their eggs and give birth to two to three dozen live young. Baby snakes are about 2 feet (0.6 meters) long when they are born and are...