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What Do Anacondas Eat?

Category: Reptiles.

Maybe you have seen the movies Anaconda, or Snakes on a Plane and have come to the realization that snakes in general are pretty scary creatures. I don’t like snakes, I never get near them, and I would like to keep it that way.

African rock python constricting adult female domestic goat that is probably pregnant. © Materialscientist.

About anacondas

The anaconda is an extremely large snake that lives in the rivers and swamps of rainforests. It is not a poisonous snake, but can be menacing nonetheless. anacondas can grow over 16 feet (5 meters) long and weigh just under 220 pounds (100 kg). The longest reputably-measured and confirmed anaconda was about 17.1 ft (5.21 meters) long. That’s a giant snake and one I will do my utmost to avoid.

How anacondas kill their prey?

Anacondas are related to boa constrictors, they kill their prey by wrapping their large body around their victims and then squeezing them until they are dead. Finally, the snake will eat their prey by swallowing them whole. Unlike boa constrictors though, anacondas don’t normally eat animals on a regular basis, rather they eat fish in most cases. It does happen on occasion that an anaconda will devour an animal, but that is a rare occasion.

Anaconda’s hunting strategy

African rock python, about 10 feet long, trying very hard to eat a small steenbok, an antelope. © Alex Griffiths.

The anaconda is not a fast-moving snake, rather it relies on it’s natural camouflage to approach its prey before attacking. Although the anaconda does have teeth, the teeth are not used for killing their prey, it is more likely that the teeth are used to hold the prey in place while the victim is struggling under the vice grip of the anaconda.

They are not trigger happy killers

Usually the anaconda will only attack prey when it is hungry, and they don’t normally go hunting unless they are ready to eat. Young anacondas will usually go for smaller prey such as rodents or birds eggs.

They live for a long time

For a reptilian species, the anaconda lives quite a long time, nearly 30 years. Most of this time, though, they keep to themselves hidden away within the jungle they like to call home. When hunting for prey, they will spend a long time observing before striking. But once the anaconda has their prey in their grasp it is nearly impossible for the prey to escape.

They like water

Anacondas like to stay in the water a lot, and this is the main reason that fish is one of their main staples in their diet. Although they do eat fish, they are considered a carnivorous meat eating species due to the fact that they eat other small mammals. It can be weeks between feeding sessions for the anaconda. Baby anacondas will eat frogs and birds eggs, but quite often fall victim to other predators larger than themselves.

Found in South America

The rainforests in South America are the predominant location and home to the anaconda. The largest population of anacondas is found there. This is a good reason not to move to South America unless you actually have to. I will just continue watching the scary snake movies on television as I don’t need to see one up close and personal. They may be fascinating creatures, but I am content to read about them in a book.

More on snake’s diet

  1. Cobras
  2. Garter snakes
  3. Rattlesnakes
  4. Snakes in general

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