Authored by Rodney Southern in Nature and Wildlife
Published on 09-30-2009
Virtually everyone on earth has heard of the green anaconda, the largest snake on earth. Many people do not realize that the yellow anaconda also exists, and is quite incredible in it’s own right. The yellow anaconda is not nearly as big as the green anaconda, but they are still huge in comparison to most snakes. It is a boa that is found in South America, and it has a nasty biting reputation. The majority of people are not in danger from this beautiful snake, but smaller kids, pets, and frail individuals could certainly be overpowered.
The yellow anaconda is literally a baby snake compared to the immense size of the green anaconda, but that is no insult. The yellow anaconda can exceed 12 feet. The big difference you will see between the green and yellow, however is in the weight department. While the green can weigh over 400 pounds, the yellow anaconda is usually around 40 pounds. The males are much smaller than the females in general, though they are both quite large as snakes go.
The yellow anaconda is known mostly for their brilliant coloration. Unlike the generally dull colored anaconda, the yellow anaconda is often a bright yellow or green. They have saddle markings down their length, but these can fade markedly with age and location. The colors of this snake are usually quite vibrant, but they can be dull and dark as well in some areas.
Another neat thing about the yellow anaconda is that they can bite, kill and swallow prey all underwater. This is because they have a unique set up where they can block out the water preventing them from choking. This incredible feature allows them much more flexibility for hunting when compared to other predators in the world. Imagine waiting under water and never having to come to the surface while eating.
The yellow anaconda does not have venom or fangs with which they can kill prey. As such, they use a technique known as coiling. This is when they bite with a mouth that has hundreds of sharp, backwards aiming teeth, and then wrap their prey in their powerful coils. These coils are capable of then squeezing the life out of a prey item, and the anaconda then swallows them whole. This species of anaconda will eat fish, birds, small cayman and even the occasional mammal such as deer that stray too close to the water. While they are capable of killing on land, they generally do so from the water because they hold such an advantage.
The yellow anaconda has been considered as very dangerous by many because of their size and their propensity to bite. The problem is not venom, as mentioned above. The problem is that anacondas sometimes eat carrion, and thus they can carry some pretty nasty infections along with their painful bite. Some yellow anacondas are strong enough to bite and wrap smaller humans, and that can lead to drowning or even suffocation if they do not get help. While this is extremely rare, it is still notable if you live around yellow anacondas.