|Green anaconda, Eunectes murinus|
The anaconda is the one of biggest snakes in the world. Also known as the Water Boa, this giant meat-eater lives in swampy areas of tropical (warm) South America. It spends a lot of time in shallow water, hidden from unsuspecting prey. Anacondas are related to boa constrictors. They give birth to live young; 20 to 40 baby snakes are born at one time. The largest specimens measured 25 feet long and weighed 550 pounds. Although reports of animals 35-40 feet exist, since no specimens of such sizes have been put in museums these reports remain unverified.
Hunting and Diet[change | edit source]
Anacondas are carnivores (meat-eaters). They mostly hunt at night (they are nocturnal). Anacondas kill by constricting (squeezing) the prey until it can no longer breathe. Sometimes they drown the prey. Like all snakes, they swallow the prey whole, head first. The anaconda's top and bottom jaws are attached to each other with stretchy ligaments, which let the snake swallow animals wider than itself. Snakes do not chew their food, they digest it with very strong acids II in the snake's stomach. Anacondas eat pigs, deer, caiman (a type of crocodilian), birds, fish, rodents (like the capybara and agouti), and other animals. After eating a large animal, the anaconda needs no food for a long time, and rests for weeks. The young (called neonates) can care for themselves soon after birth, including hunting (but are pretty much defenseless against large predators). They eat small rodents (like rats and mice), baby birds, frogs and small fish.