What is the biggest snake in the whole wide world?

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anaconda in tree
There are some stupendous snakes in nature but the Anaconda takes a trophy for size
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This stupendous serpent takes the trophy.

What is the biggest snake in the whole wide world? Is it a dirty politician? Is it a heartless bank robber? In the civilized world: probably. In the world of nature: no. The biggest snake in the world is found only in South America. It is the Anaconda—a powerful member of the boa constrictor family. It is known to grow to about 20- to 40 feet in length.


How big is an Anaconda?


What is the biggest snake in the whole wide world? Knowing the dimensions—20- to 40-feet long—and understanding the impact of that size takes some doing. Realize its extreme 40-foot measurement by using visualization; no snakes will be harmed during this exercise. Think about grabbing an Anaconda's tail, looping a rope around the tip and suspending the snake from an open window on the fourth floor of a normally constructed four-story house.


Now, go downstairs and hide behind a big tree in the front yard. Observe the dangling serpent. The snake's thrashing head is almost on the sidewalk. It's shredding the daffodils. There go the tulips. This species can weigh more than 550 pounds. And quick movement is a specialty. Oh-oh, the rope broke? Think about running away, very fast. What is the biggest snake in the whole wide world? No doubt about it.


What does the snake eat?


The Anaconda's thick body can measure at its waistline more than 13 inches in diameter—unless it has just fed and is nicely bloated. The snake enjoys plump rodents, chewy alligators, crunchy jungle birds and frogs. A young deer is no challenge. The snake also can climb a tree near the mouth of a dark cave and snatch bats from the air as they fly by its elevated perch. A similar technique is used to catch other birds on the wing.


How does it swallow big prey?


The Anaconda prefers to hunt at night. It coils its body around its hapless meal and gives its prey a suffocating squeeze by tightening the powerful muscles that comprise a series of concentric rings along its body. Then, the snake unhinges its jaw, opens wide its mouth and swallows whole the newly deceased prey.


That's when this humongous snake's waistline shows dramatic changes. One can easily see the bulge of its most recently devoured meal, especially if that meal is a 100-pound animal with lots of bulk such as a wild pig or a calf. Long periods of time may pass before another full feed is needed.



Does this serpent enjoy companionship?


The Anaconda—whose only home is South America—has no use for friends or a lively social life.  It is non-venomous and semi-aquatic. All alone, it travels in grasses and brush. It also likes to hide, mostly submerged, along the many streams of the steamy Amazon region. When an animal comes to drink, the snake—sometimes called a water boa—will spring out of the water and snag its prey.


Does an Anaconda have a love life?


Mating season—April and May—seems to be the only time when couples get together for sexual reproduction. Competing males form a writhing mass—a breeding ball—around a female who is ready for insemination. One competitor eventually wins the challenge. Live births of two dozen or more baby snakes—each about two-feet long—bring the next generation into the world.


Does an Anaconda make a good pet?


There are thousands of people who enjoy keeping as pets various breeds of snakes. Among the most popular is the Corn snake, Ball Python and Milk Snake. Snakes are interesting to study. They can provide a valuable education for the family. But they need a wide array of pet supplies, pet foods, shelters and other pet products. And an Anaconda's needs are giant sized.


Many folks adopt their snakes from various reptile rescue organizations, establishments founded to re-home or rehabilitate abandoned or unwanted pets. Once in its new home, an Anaconda—among other snakes—may require thawed frozen meats, warmed slightly to resemble living animals. When the snake grows larger, it may prefer live or pre-killed mice, rabbits and chickens.


Providing proper lighting, heat and a living space that can be enlarged is a concern. The expense of veterinary care is an issue. A liability may arise if someone gets bitten. Snakes are beautiful creatures that warrant respect. There is much truth behind the Persian proverb: Use your enemy's hand to catch a snake.

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