It should have been a normal dive, but the event had a truly unexpected twist. During an inspection of the Formoso riverin the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil, a diver found himself in front of the largest creature he had ever seen: a huge anaconda about 7 meters long. A very rare sighting that we can consider as a record (or almost), given the size of the snake related to the more common boa.
Giant anaconda, a record snake
Talking about this huge snake is a bit like telling a myth or a legend. Due to its lifestyle and the habitat suited to it, the giant anaconda is by no means an easy animal to see, indeed when sightings such as the one that took place in the Formosus river occur they are truly unique events. The largest snake in the world, as it is often referred to, on average it is about 5-6 meters long but in rare cases it can reach a length of 11 meters. Record-breaking measures in the world of scaly reptiles.
Anaconda, the feared giant of South America
Of important animal species exist in nature, but undoubtedly the anaconda is one of the most feared animals and disturbing ones currently present on the planet. Imagine what an experience it must be to encounter a snake as large as this: very long, muscular and with the typical movements of the species. Just multiply exponentially.
With the term anaconda (scientific name Eunectes Wagler) refers to four different species of snakes, all belonging to the family Boidae (that of the boas, so to speak). They are all animals of greater weight and size than the common snakes, like the reticulated python that lives in Southeast Asia. But in the case of the anaconda we are talking, in particular, of a species that lives exclusively in fresh waters of South America dividing between Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia.
This giant of the rivers is called endemic speciesthat is, closely linked to his place of origin that, with his hot and humid climate, provides him with the ideal habitat. You could never find it anywhere else, in short! The giant anaconda is able to swim and remain submerged under water for whole days, moving with vigor and shots of such rapidity not to leave a chance for prey. Despite its size, therefore, we can say that it is a rather agile animal. But there is even more because, as if that weren’t enough, the giant anaconda loves to climb and perch on the branches of the trees that are typical of its swampy habitat: the perspective changes, the ability to capture prey remains.
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The Anaconda is not a poisonous snake
When it comes to snakes, one of the very first things that come to mind is the power of their poison. We think of creatures like the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah Cantor), the banded bungaro (Bungarus fasciatus Schneider), the rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) or even the black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) and the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus), which are by far among the deadliest creatures on the planet. Many mistakenly believe that the giant anaconda is also a poisonous snake, but this is not the case at all.
The family Boidae it includes, in fact, “constricting” snakes that literally suffocate the prey, rather than poison it. The anaconda wanders silently in the water, then thanks to its eyes and its nostrils it is able to detect the presence of the prey, the tip and lends it an ambush which it cannot escape. Furthermore, the particular conformation of this huge snake, with the head smaller than the width of the body, is due to mating needs but also to feeding: not only can it hold and suffocate prey of over 100 kg in a few seconds, but it is able to swallow them whole in one gulp.