Wild Encounters : Anaconda

Wild Encounters

(WJBF) – On this edition of Wild Encounters we’re taking a look at anacondas.

We’re back here at Riverbanks Zoo and we’re talking to Karen about our very large friend here behind us: the anaconda. Karyn, what can you tell us about this anaconda?”

Karyn Wheatley, Herpetology Keeper: “This is our adult female anaconda and with our renovation, she’s actually going to be moving from this space into what is our current desert exhibit. It will become our tropical forest area and she will also be joined by two of our younger anacondas. Some people may not even know that they’re here at the zoo. We do have two eight-year-old individuals. There is one on exhibit, but she tends to hide a good bit.”

“Give us an idea about…how strong is an anaconda?”

Karyn: “They’re very strong. Their body is 100-percent muscle. They’re known as constrictors. What that means is that — as they feed on their prey — they’re actually going to wrap their whole body around it and squeeze really tightly so that their prey cannot escape.”

“Everyone always wants me to ask this question any time we have a snake: how venomous is an anaconda?”

Karyn: “No venomous at all. They’re a non-venomous snake. So, they’re going to use that large body and that big head to grab onto that snake and that’s how they’re going to defend themselves, as well if they come across a predator.”

“Now, I got a question. I notice that it’s hanging out under the water. How long can it stay down there? Can it breathe under the water?”

Karyn: “They don’t breathe under the water. They do have to come up for air, but they can stay down for 30 to 45 minutes, even longer. They do in their natural habitat stay in a wet, swampy-like area where they’re doing lots of swimming. Their body is made to do lots of heavy water swimming.”

“Last question: what does an anaconda eat?”

Karyn: “Our adult female here at the zoo eats large rabbits. In the wild, they can eat larger mammals. When they are small, they might even prey on birds and other small critters, as well.”

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