When it comes to snakes there are those that kill their prey with a venomous bite and those that kill by suffocation. Anacondas are known for the way in which they coil their long and muscular body around their prey to suffocate it and afterward swallow it in one piece.
Since they do not rely on venom it begs the question: Do anacondas have teeth? Do they even need teeth when they neither kill with their bites nor bite pieces off of their
Do anacondas have teeth? Yes, they do! They do not use their teeth for chewing, though. The teeth of an anaconda are there to hold its prey while it wraps its body around the captured animal to suffocate it. Since the teeth are so sharp and curved, it is impossible for the prey animal to escape. Once the prey is dead the anaconda swallows it whole.
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Anacondas have stretchy ligaments in their jaw, which makes it possible for them to open their mouths really wide and swallow animals as big as jaguars or crocodiles. Because they are capable to consume such large amounts of meat at once, they can subsist on one meal for weeks and sometimes even months.
What Do Anacondas Eat?
Anacondas are carnivores, which means that their diet consists of meat. Typical prey animals are capybaras, deer, sheep, dogs, fish, turtles, and aquatic reptiles. When they swallow their prey – always starting with the head – they undergo wave-like muscle contractions. This helps to crush the prey and move it further down.
Can Anacondas Swim?
Anacondas are the four snakes that belong to the genus Eunectes, which is a genus of boa. Eunectes derives from Ancient Greek and means “good swimmer.” Sometimes, they are also called “water boas”! Anacondas are semiaquatic snakes and their patterns and colors are perfectly developed to camouflage them in muddy waters.
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Their skin is soft and loose and can stand a great deal of water absorption. Because their eyes are on the top of their heads they can hide underwater and still see what is going on above the surface. They can stay submerged underwater for up to ten minutes without having to come up for air. Sometimes they drown their prey instead of suffocating it by coiling themselves around it.
Anacondas are dependent on having access to water. Those that live near or in rivers are active the whole year. There are also some anacondas that live in savannahs that are only seasonally flooded. These anacondas bury themselves in mud during the dry season and enter a dormant state until the dry season ends.
Are There Several Kinds of Anaconda?
There are four kinds of anaconda:
- green anaconda,
- yellow anaconda,
- darkly spotted anaconda, and
- Bolivian anaconda.
Probably the most famous is the green anaconda – it is not only the biggest of the anacondas but also one of the longest snakes in the world!
A green anaconda can get as heavy as 550 pounds and be more than twenty feet long and about 11 inches in diameter. The yellow anaconda is smaller, but still reaches an impressive length of about 9 feet. Female anacondas tend to be larger than male anacondas. Such a distinct and obvious difference in the appearance of females and males of a species – aside from the sexual organs – is called sexual dimorphism.
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What Does the Tongue of a Snake Do?
Snakes are famous for their long forked tongues and the hissing sound they produce when “tasting” the air. In the roof of the mouth of a snake is an organ called Jacobson’s organ which enables them to smell molecules in the air or on the ground. Thus, when snakes flick their tongue into the air they collect scents that help them find prey. The forked shape of a snake tongue makes it possible for the snake to understand in detail on which side of their tongue certain chemicals predominate.
It is truly amazing what the tongue of a snake can do! Snakes are even able to stick out their tongue without actually having to open their mouth. There is a small notch in the lip called rostral grove through which they stick their tongue to scout the area.