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What Lurks Beneath!

The Green Anaconda

If you ever get to visit the Amazon Rainforest, perhaps cruising down the Amazon River on an expedition, there will be many eyes on you! Birds, monkeys, rodents, and more will be aware and interested in your presence, but hidden beneath your feet may be a monster! Okay not exactly the monster depicted by Hollywood, but still huge nonetheless. Green Anacondas do grow very large, up to 15-20 feet long and 200-500 pounds. That is roughly equivalent to the height of a giraffe and the weight of a baby elephant! Look closely and you might see beady eyes and nostrils just breaking the water's surface, while beneath, the heaviest snake in the world lurks unseen ready to strike potential prey. Thankfully, you’d probably be safe from an attack, as they very rarely attack humans. Whew!

The Green Anaconda (and all other types of anacondas) are not venomous, like countless other snake species. They are constrictors, using their extremely muscular bodies to wrap around and strangle prey. Anacondas typically hunt from the water and consume anything they can catch, such as birds, rodents, and fish. As apex predators, a full-grown adult is even able to eat very large animals including tapir, wild hogs, jaguars, and capybara (large rodents. They accomplish this by unhinging their jaws, allowing their mouths to open extremely wide. A huge meal like that can keep them satisfied for weeks. Can you imagine going weeks without eating?

Lifecycle and Breeding

The Green Anaconda is a solitary nocturnal animal, with its own hunting grounds. But between April and May, during mating season, they can be found together in “breeding balls”. It is believed the females leave pheromones (an excreted chemical) that males can track. Multiple males will wrap around a female for weeks at a time hoping for a chance to mate! In six to seven months, females will birth 40-100 baby anacondas (around 2 feet in length). Anacondas are ovoviviparous, meaning their young are fed by an egg yolk and then born alive, immediately setting out on their own with no mothering at all! The young Anacondas will grow rapidly to adult size. In the wild their lifespan can reach 10 years.

A Habitat Worth Preserving!

The Amazon Rainforest is an exotic special place. The Rainforest also includes the Amazon River, which is part of the Amazon Drainage basin. The Amazon River has over 1,100 tributaries which feed thousands of swamps and marshes. These gentler waterways are where Green Anacondas prefer to hunt and live. They can certainly move on land, but their heavy bodies make it harder for them. Instead they make good use of the waterways, often allowing their bodies to drift with the current.

As with all animals, Green Anacondas are specifically adapted to their environment. They may soon become threatened as deforestation and pollution continue to plague the Rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest is vital to the health of the planet and home to millions of unique species! Anacondas may seem scary, but they are awesome, intelligent, special creatures whose habitat needs to be protected!

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