Anacondas have scared and entertained us on the big screen in the last few years. These deadly reptiles often provide the much-needed thrill in most adventure movies. But are they really as fearsome as they seem? If you are really not intimidated by their deadly appearance, here's a look at the anaconda habitat and some details associated with their behavior patterns.
Facts about the Anacondas
The origins of the term 'anaconda' is under much debate. There have been many speculations about the name; some believe it is derived from the Sinhalese word henakandaya. Henakandaya refers to whip snake or something that has a giant body. The other version of the story says this name was derived from a Tamil word, anaikondran. Anaikondran means elephant killer. Some Spanish settlers in the ancient times referred to the anaconda as the matatoro or the bull killer. Natives from North America used names such as sucuri or yakumama for these deadly reptiles. Anacondas have also been named as Eunectes (Latin name), which is derived from a Greek word that means a good swimmer.
Anacondas belong to the four species of the aquatic boas. Boas are classified under snakes and these belong to the Boidae family. These boa constrictors give birth to live young.
The size of the anacondas is what is probably considered to be frightening to many. There have been many arguments regarding the same. Some claim to have measured an anaconda that was 11.43 meters long. This is according to the discovery by Lee Krystek who claims to have measured the same in a 1944 petroleum expedition. Others claim they can measure up to 45 meters. Experts opine that their average length is up to 23 feet in length.
Many early reports by people who have claimed to go on an expedition have different stories to report. Mike Dash, a historian claimed to have witnessed anacondas that were 30 meters in length. These claims were supported with photographs. So far, the largest captured anaconda in the wild was 17 feet in length.
Anacondas are spotted most likely near rivers, swamps, and pools of the Amazon Rainforest. These large reptiles are known to feel at home in water, rather than on land. They can stay submerged for over 10 minutes in water; a ploy it uses to catch its prey. Anacondas mainly hunt in the night in swampy areas. It also tends to drift with the water with its head breaking the surface occasionally. Its eyes and nostrils are placed on top of the head; this itself enables it to catch its prey while the rest of the body lays submerged in water. Many anacondas are found in the tropical rainforests and although their numbers are not facing any threat, many of these species are definitely affected due to loss of their natural habitat. They also face threat from humans because they are hunted for their skin.
Anacondas are most often spotted in the Guianas and throughout the regions of the tropical South America and the Orinoco Basins as well. It is rumored some of them have been seen east of Andes whereas the Yellow Anaconda has been spotted south of Argentina.
The savannas, grasslands and the deciduous forests are also their home. When out of water, the reptiles are seen by the water's edge, basking in the sun or in shallow caves nearby. The kind of water bodies an anaconda prefers are mainly swampy and calm surfaces because it prefers to lay submerged or let the natural current carry it along rather than living in swift moving rivers.
There have been a few incidents, which have a mention of anacondas being bred in captivity. Here's hoping these creatures manage to have a life in their natural environment without all the interference from man.