Green Anaconda

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Green Anaconda
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Genus: Eunectes
Species: E. murinus
Binomial name
Eunectes murinus
Linnaeus, 1758
Synonyms

Boa murina
Linnaeus, 1758
Boa scytale
Linnaeus, 1758
Boa gigas
Latreille, 1802
Eunectes barbouri
Dunn & Conant, 1936

The Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is the largest member of the boa family of snakes and the most massive member of the super-order Squamata. This species of anaconda is known to live in the seasonally flooded lowlands surrounding the Amazon basin. In at least part of this habitat, a portion called the Venezuelan llano, green anacondas "concentrate in small bodies of water during the dry season but disperse broadly (over >3,000 m2) across the flooded savanna during the rainy season." [1]

Description

It is among the largest snakes in the world, with recorded (but unverified) measurements of 8.45 m (27.7 feet) and 9.6 m (31.5 feet), though average size is closer to 18 feet. It rivals the Reticulated Python for length, but is typically considerably heavier. It can weigh 250 kg (551 lb) and have a girth of more than 30 cm (11.8 inches) in diameter. The Green Anaconda might be the most exaggerated animal on earth in terms of size, with reports of lengths ranging up to a downright ridiculous 40 m (131 feet). Probably the largest snake ever actually measured was a shot-but-not-killed female near the Colombia-Venezuela in 1944. This unweighed giant was measured as being 11.43 m (37.5 feet), before it apparently slithered off from it's hunter, who thought it dead. Females are significantly larger than males, having the largest sexual dimorphism of all the snakes.

Their primary overall color is an olive green, with black blotches that run the length of the body. Their head is narrow compared to the rest of the body, with most exhibiting distinctive orange-yellow striping on either side. Their eyes are set high on their head so as to allow the snake to be able to see out of the water without exposing the rest of its body.

Geographic range

Green Anacondas are found mainly in northern South America (Amazon and Orinoco basins), in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, northern Bolivia, northeast Peru, Guyana, and the island of Trinidad.

Behavior

Green anacondas, like all anacondas, are primarily aquatic. They eat a wide variety of prey, almost anything they can manage to overpower, including: fish, birds, a variety of mammals, and other reptiles. Particularly large anacondas may even consume large prey such as tapir, deer, capybara, caiman and jaguar, but such large meals are not regularly consumed (Thorbjarnarson, 1995).[2] They employ constriction to subdue their prey.

Reproduction

Anacondas are ovoviviparous. Copulation takes place during the rainy season, typically in the water. Gestation is approximately 6 months. Litter size averages 20-40 young, but as many as 100 are possible. Sexual maturity is reached between 2 and 3 years of age. Anacondas are also known for being quite aggressive. This makes them a poor choice for a pet, except for the rare occasion that a zoo would need one.

References

  1. Paul P. Calle, V.M.D., Dipl. A.C.Z.M., Jesús Rivas, Ph.D., María Muñoz, Lic., John Thorbjarnarson, Ph.D., William Holmstrom, B.A., William B. Karesh, D.V.M.: "Infectious Disease Serologic Survey in Free-Ranging Venezuelan Anacondas (Eunectes murinus)". Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. Volume 32, Issue 3 (September 2001 pp. 320–323)
  2. Reyes, Dana. Green Anacondas (Eunectes murinus) at University of San Francisco. Accessed 25 May 2012.

External links

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