Do People Eat Anacondas? How Fast Are They? Anaconda Facts + FAQ

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Anaconda seems like an animal that should not be real. They’re so unfathomable and should only exist in horror movies. But anacondas are real and they do exist outside of our nightmares. And – I’m fascinated by them.

RELATED: Snakes True or False Quiz

I found a few questions about anacondas that are not fully covered on the internet and tried to answer them with as much info as I could find.

Table of Contents

Do People Eat Anacondas?

As a general rule, people don’t typically eat anacondas. A large anaconda can provide over 200 pounds of meat and could potentially feed a lot of people, but they are not a popular dish in South America. Indigenous people shy away from eating meat and only use their skin.

Why is that?

Anacondas are fairly easy to kill as they are really slow when out of the water, so a skilled hunter could kill them almost effortlessly. The only thing stopping people from eating anacondas are social norms and their culture basically.

There are also plenty of tastier animals around them that they could easily hunt for and cook dinner. One such animal, which is a favorite food of anacondas as well, is a capybara.

What Are Anacondas?

Anacondas are a group of large semiaquatic snakes that are native to tropical South America. They are also known as water boas.

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How Many Species Of Anaconda Are There?

There are four species of anacondas currently recognized:

  • The green anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
  • The yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
  • The darkly-spotted anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei)
  • The Bolivian anaconda (Eunectes beniensis)

The green anaconda is the anaconda everyone is referring to. It is the most popular and the biggest one of them all.

RELATED POST: Do People Eat Capybaras?

do people eat anacondas
Anaconda found in marshes of Amazonia (Bolivia)

Anaconda Meat

Anaconda meat is not poisonous and is safe to eat from that angle. But, all reptiles carry parasites, viruses, bacteria, and heavy metals that means they are not safe to eat.

You could potentially contract some of the very serious diseases such as trichinosis, pentastomiasis, gnathostomiasis, and sparganosis by eating the meat of reptiles such as crocodiles, turtles, lizards, or snakes.

“The clearest microbiological risk comes from the possible presence of pathogenic bacteria, especially Salmonella, and also Shigella, Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterolitica, Campylobacter, Clostridium and Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause illnesses of varying degrees of severity,”

Simone Magnino, a researcher for the World Health Organization (WHO)

Proper food preparation such as freezing and thoroughly cooking the meat before consumption, can kill off pathogens.

Are Anacondas Endangered?

Anacondas are not endangered. They thrive in tropical South America and their only threats are habitat destruction by humans as well as poaching.

Their skins are still traded even though anaconda trade is illegal in most South American countries.

They are also not a popular pet as they can grow to be rather big.

Anaconda Length?

The largest verified (green) anaconda in captivity was a serpent kept in Pittsburgh Zoo, which grew to a length of 6.27 m (20.6 ft). She weighed more than 91 kg (201 lb).

What about wild anacondas? How long do they get?

The longest and heaviest verified specimen that the renowned herpetologist Dr. Jesús Antonio Rivas found was a female that was 5.21 m (17.1 ft) long and weighed 97.5 kg (215 lb).

Dr. Rivas examined more than a thousand anacondas and wrote many scientific papers.

[lasso ref=”natural-history-of-the-green-anaconda-with-emphasis-on-its-reproductive-biology” id=”5138″ link_id=”2397″]

Are Anacondas Protected?

Anaconda trade is protected in most countries of South America but that of course doesn’t stop people from killing or capturing them for their skin or sale as pets or exhibits.

are anacondas endangered
Are anacondas endangered?

Are Anacondas Venomous?

Anacondas are not venomous. They are strong enough to subdue their prey, like a capybara, and overpower it by choking (constricting) it to death. Although some species of venomous and mildly venomous snakes do use constriction to subdue their prey, most snakes that use constriction lack venom.

Are Anacondas Pythons?

This is a really common misconception, but no, anacondas are not pythons. They are in fact a genus of boas.

Boas or boids are a family of nonvenomous snakes which include some of the world’s largest snakes, like our anaconda among others.

Pythons were historically classified as a subfamily of Boas called Pythoninae, but we now know that they are not closely related to boas despite their superficial similarities.

Are anacondas pythons
Are anacondas pythons?

Is Python Bigger Than An Anaconda?

This is true. Pythons grow to be longer than anacondas, yes. Reticulated pythons, in particular, are the only living snakes to regularly exceed lengths of more than 6 m (19.7 ft).

One of the largest scientifically measured specimens, from Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, was measured under anesthesia at 6.95 m (22.8 ft) and weighed 59 kg (130 lb) after not having eaten for nearly 3 months.

Are Anacondas Fast?

Anacondas are not very fast and are downright slow outside of water. Their tactic is to ambush their prey by hiding underwater or on the surface, in leaves, and other plants that are emerging from the water.

Their speed, while in water, is from 10 to 16 miles per hour.

Do Jaguars Eat Anacondas?

Jaguars do not regularly eat anacondas. And if they do, they only eat the smaller-sized snakes, as a full-grown anaconda would be an extreme challenge for the jag. Jaguars are opportunistic eaters and they’re smart enough not to endanger themselves by attacking a full-sized anaconda snake.

They do have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom but that bite is no problem for a constricting anaconda. Once an anaconda starts constricting their prey, they are almost impervious to pain, and the more the prey fights, the stronger constriction gets.

Anacondas do not want to let their prey go loose as it could turn the table on them once they are free from anacondas’ grip.

What Do Anacondas Eat?

Anacondas are opportunistic predators that prey on a variety of animals including fish, birds, tapirs, wild pigs, capybaras, caimans, and whatever other animal crosses their path when they are hungry.

Because it takes them 3 to 4 months to digest their food, anacondas only need to eat 4 to 5 times per year.

Like all snakes, they swallow the prey whole, head first and then they digest it with quite strong acids in their stomach.

Anaconda eating a capybara
By EvaK – EvaK, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Do Anacondas Eat Jaguars?

Do Anacondas Eat Jaguars
Do Anacondas Eat Jaguars?

Jaguars are the third-largest cat species in the world but more importantly, the largest cat native to the Americas where anacondas live. Being such a large and extremely powerful animal, anaconda would only try to attack a jaguar that’s on the smaller size.

Both animals are extremely powerful and muscular with some of the strongest bites in all animals.

A clash of these juggernauts would be monumental. For the same reason, these two animals would not attack each other unless one of them thinks it could, more or less easily, overpower the other. Size, health, and opportunity are all factors when preying for the next meal.

To get back to the original question, do anacondas eat jaguars? Only if they are on a smaller size and can be easily overpowered. In all other cases, anacondas stick to meek animals such as poor friendly capybaras or tapirs for example.

Do Anacondas Lay Eggs?

Anacondas do not lay eggs – they give birth to live snakes. And here’s a shocker, anacondas might even eat their babies alive. Luckily, anacondas have more than 20 neonates or anaconda babies.

If that is not enough, female anacondas oftentimes eat males when they’re finished mating. Yikes! Sometimes even eating more than one, as they form breeding balls.

Do Anacondas Have Fangs?

Contrary to popular belief, anacondas do not have fangs. Only venomous snakes have fangs through which they inject venom into their victims’ bodies.

Like most snakes, anacondas have four rows of teeth on their upper jaws that barely emerge from the gum line, but that are needle-sharp, and there are lots of them. They are also all curved backward to help steer the prey into the stomach.

Venomous snakes leave their trademark 2-hole mark, while anaconda’s bite would leave a horseshoe-like mark.

Movies About Anacondas

For such an iconic serpent, there’s a surprisingly small amount of movies, documentaries, or TV shows. The ones that were made are unfortunately lackluster at best. For some reason, it’s not enough that anaconda is the thickest, heaviest, and second-longest known living snake, they have to be genetically modified to make it into a movie.

Anyway, here’s a list of movies and documentaries with links to their IMDB pages.

Documentaries (by year)

  1. Anaconda (1954)
  2. Land of the Anaconda (1998)
  3. Anaconda: Giant Snake of the Amazon (1999)
  4. Wanted Anaconda (2006)
  5. Anaconda: Queen of the Serpents (2010)
  6. Anaconda: Silent Killer (2014)
  7. El sendero de la anaconda (2019)

Movies (by year)

  1. Anaconda (1997)
  2. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)
  3. Anaconda: Offspring (2008)
  4. Anaconda Frightened (2008)
  5. Anacondas 4: Trail of Blood (2009)
  6. Lake Placid vs. Anaconda (2015)
  7. Anacondas: Mystery Solved (2017)