|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|In the Pantanal we saw a few Anacondas. This one was within our reach. So we caught him carefully and I can say: he was only just over 2 meters long, but when I lifted him up he was heavy. |
It is nice to notice the fly on his back.
Difficult to choose the right point of view. I’ve chosen for this photo so you can see something of his impressive body.
I also made a few photos on eye level.
The Green Anaconda, Eunectes murinus (derived from the Greek ευνήκτης meaning "good swimmer" and the Latin murinus meaning "of mice" for being thought to prey on mice), commonly known as the green anaconda, is a non-venomous boaspecies found in South America. It is the largest, heaviest, and second longest (behind the reticulated python) known extant snake species. The term anaconda (without further qualification) often refers to this species, though the term could also apply to other members of the genus Eunectes. Other common names include common anaconda and water boa.
The Green Anaconda is the world's heaviest and one of the world's longest snakes, reaching more than 6.6 m long. More typical mature specimens reportedly can range up 5 m, with the females, at around a mean length of 4.6 m, being generally much larger in adulthood than the male, which averages around 3 m. Weights are less well studied, though will reportedly range from 30 to 70 kg in an average-range adult. It is the largest snake native to the Americas. Although it is slightly shorter than the Reticulated python, it is far more robust: the bulk of a 4.5m green anaconda is comparable to a 7.4m reticulated python. Eucentes murinus is probably the heaviest extant species of snake or squamate in the world, perhaps only rivaled by the Komodo dragon.
The color pattern consists of olive green background overlaid with black blotches along the length of the body. The head is narrow compared to the body, usually with distinctive orange-yellow striping on either side. The eyes are set high on the head, allowing the snake to see out of the water while swimming without exposing its body.
Scientific and common names
In the famous 10th edition of Systema Naturae of 1758, Carl Linnaeus cited descriptions by Albertus Seba and by Laurens Theodorus Gronovius to erect the distinct species murina of his new genus Boa, which contained eight other species, including Boa constrictor. The generic name Boa came from an ancient Latin word for a type of large snake. The first specimens of Boa murina were of immature individuals from 75 to 90 cm in length. Linnaeus almost certainly chose the scientific name Boa murina based on the original Latin description given by A. Seba in 1735: "Serpens testudinacea americana, murium insidiator" [tortoise-patterned (spotted) American snake, a predator that lies in wait for mice (and rats)]. The Latin adjective murinus (murina) in this case would mean "of mice" or "connected with mice," understood in context as "preying on mice",
Local names in South America include the Spanish term mata toro, meaning "bull killer", and the Native American terms sucuri (Tupi) and yakumama in the Peruvian Amazon, which means "water mother" in the Quechua language of the jungle people Yakurunas or "water people". In Trinidad, it has been traditionally referred to as the huille or huilla.
Eunectes murinus is found in South America east of the Andes, in countries including Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, the island of Trinidad, and as far south as northern Paraguay. The type locality given is "America".
Anacondas live in swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams, mainly in the tropical rainforests of the Amazon and Orinoco basins. They are cumbersome on land, but stealthy and sleek in the water. Their eyes and nasal openings are on top of their heads, allowing them to lie in wait for prey while remaining nearly completely submerged.
The primarily nocturnal anaconda species tend to spend most of its life in or around water. Anacondas are also sometimes known as the water boa; they spend more time in water than any of the boas. They seem rather slow and sluggish when traveling on land due to their size, although they have the potential to reach high speeds in water. They tend to float beneath the surface of the water with their snouts above the surface. When prey passes by or stops to drink, the anaconda will strike (without eating or swallowing it) and coil around it with its body. The snake will then constrict until it has successfully suffocated the prey.
Primarily aquatic, they eat a wide variety of prey, almost anything they can manage to overpower, including fish, birds, a variety of mammals, and other reptiles. Particularly large anacondas may even consume large prey such as tapirs, deer, capybaras, and caimans, but such large meals are not regularly consumed. Many local stories and legends report the anaconda as a man-eater, but little evidence supports any such activity. They employ constriction to subdue their prey. Cannibalism among green anacondas is also known, most recorded cases involving a larger female consuming a smaller male. While the exact reason for this is not understood, scientists cite several possibilities, including the dramatic sexual dimorphism in the species, and the possibility that a female anaconda requires additional food intake after breeding to sustain the long period of gestation. The nearby male simply provides the opportunistic female a ready source of nutrition.
This species is solitary until the mating season, which occurs during the rainy season, and can last for several months, usually from April to May. During this time, males must find females. Typically, female snakes will lay down a trail of pheromones for the males to follow, but it is still unclear how the males of this species track a female's scent. Another possibility is that the female releases an airborne stimulant. This theory is supported by the observation of females that remain motionless while many males move towards them from all directions. Male anacondas also frequently flick their tongues to sense chemicals that signal the presence of the female.
Many males can often find the same female. Although it may not be necessary for there to be more than one male, this results in odd clusters referred to as "breeding balls", in which up to 12 males wrap around the same female and attempt to copulate. The group could stay in this position from two to four weeks. This ball acts as a slow-motion wrestling match between the males, each one fighting for the opportunity to mate with the female.
During mating, males make use of their spurs to arouse the female. They aggressively press their cloacal regions hard against the female body, while continuously scratching her with their spurs. This can produce a scratching sound. Mating approaches its climax when the stimulus of the males' spurs induces the female snake to raise her cloacal region, allowing the cloacae of the two snakes to move together. The male then coils his tail, surrounding the female and they copulate. The strongest and largest male is often the victor. However, females are physically much larger and stronger and may decide to choose from among the males. Courtship and mating occur almost exclusively in water.
Mating is followed by a gestation period that lasts about six to seven months. The species is ovoviviparous, with females giving birth to live young. Litters usually consists of 20 to 40 offspring, although as many as 100 may be produced. After giving birth, females may lose up to half their weight.
Neonates (babies) are around 70–80 cm long and receive no parental care. Because of their small size, they often fall prey to other animals. Should they survive, they grow rapidly until they reach sexual maturity in their first few years, after which their rate of growth continues at a slower pace.
However when no male anacondas are available to provide offspring facultative parthenogenesis is possible. In August 2014 West Midlands Safari Park announced that on 12 August 2014 a female Green Anaconda, which was being kept with an other female anaconda, though parthenogenesis had given birth to three little anacondas.
Source: Parts of Wikipedia
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