The anaconda is semi-aquatic and is rarely found far from water. Since their eyes and nasal openings are on top of their heads, anacondas can wait nearly completely submerged for unsuspecting animals to pass by. Despite its huge size, this snake swims stealthily, sneaking up on its prey with barely a ripple on the water’s surface.


Anacondas are carnivorous and eat turtles, caimans, mammals, and birds. As constrictors, these snakes use their long bodies like a rope to strangle and squeeze their food. Each time their captured prey breathes out, the snake constricts tighter, making it difficult for their victim to take in another breath. The prey of anacondas often drowns during the struggle. After a large meal, anacondas may not have to eat again for weeks or even months.

Some of My Neighbors

Wild pigs, capybara, caimans, jaguars

Life Cycle

Anacondas don’t lay eggs, but give birth to up to 78 live young. The babies are on their own from their earliest moments. Instinct teaches them how to survive. They live about 10 years.

Population Status & Threats

Because they are elusive, anaconda censuses are difficult to undertake. However, the snakes are not untouched by people. Poachers hunt them by the thousands each year for the illegal skin trade, for use in boots, wallets, and other goods.

WCS Conservation Efforts

WCS conservation biologists working in the savannas of Venezuela have studied these secretive snakes to learn more about their lifestyles and how to protect them.

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