Of all the animals currently in all parts of the world, reptiles are some of the most common—including anacondas.
Reptiles are generally characterized by their ability to move on all fours, their bellies, and the scales on their skins.
Although there are many existing reptile species, some of the most interesting of the lot are snakes.
There are many different kinds of snakes, large and small, throughout the world.
However, they all move on their bellies as a defining characteristic.
Before the evolution of humans, the snakes that existed were much bigger and more terrifying than the ones that currently exist.
A snake species that demonstrates just how humongous snakes could get still exists today, despite the extinction of many of these enormous snakes.
The Anaconda is currently one of the largest snakes in the world, found primarily in various countries in South America.
According to some records, the green anaconda is the only species of these enormous snakes, and the others are considered its subspecies.
However, there are four distinct anaconda species scattered around the South American continent.
Despite being the same snake, these species have certain features that make them unique.
Keep reading to find out more about these different species.
4. Green Anaconda
Because it is the most common, the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is also called the common anaconda or common water boa.
Its other names include the giant emerald anaconda and sucuri.
Like other anacondas, the green anaconda is a non-venomous boa species.
It is native to South America, particularly the northern regions.
Although there are no recognized subspecies of the green anaconda, the other anaconda species are occasionally thought of as subspecies of the green anaconda.
True to its name, the green anaconda has a slight green tint.
Primarily, these snakes have olive-green skin with brown and black spots throughout.
These snakes are considered the largest in the world.
On average, these snakes reach a full-body length of between 15 and 17 feet.
The reticulated python, which may reach a length of up to 24 feet, is the only living snake that can rival the green anaconda in length.
However, green anacondas weigh more than these pythons, weighing as much as 200 pounds and sometimes more.
The snake has a long, narrow head relative to its body.
Some individuals may have tiny orange stripes on the sides of their heads and necks.
Instead of having eyes on the sides like other terrestrial and arboreal snakes, this snake has eyes on top of its head to better fit its more aquatic environment.
The green anaconda can function on land and in water, but the snake moves faster in water than on land.
These snakes prefer to inhabit rainforests and slow-moving streams but can also be found in swamps and marshes.
Like their eyes, their nasal openings are also on top of their heads to help them function better underwater.
Their snouts typically protrude above the water’s surface while they float, and they can travel quickly.
These snakes are non-venomous, and the only way for them to kill their prey is by constricting them until they suffocate.
3. Yellow Anaconda
Also known as the Paraguayan anaconda, the yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) is a boa species found primarily found in southern South America.
Notaeus, the species’ scientific name, roughly translates to “dorsal” in classical Greek.
Because the yellow anaconda’s dorsal scales are larger than the green anaconda’s, zoologist Edward Drinker Cope gave it this name.
Apart from their dorsal scales, this species is also not as large as the green anaconda.
Unlike the green anaconda, the yellow anaconda averages lengths between 10 and 14 feet.
Averaging 77 pounds but with a maximum weight of 121 pounds, this species is also lighter than the green anaconda.
The long, muscular body of the yellow anaconda is a bright yellow, as suggested by its common name, with rounded brown and black spots.
Compared to the green anaconda, these dark blotches are less evenly distributed in size and are more irregular in shape.
The base hue of the snake’s body can also be anything from a light greenish-yellow to a darker golden brown.
In wetland settings, the yellow anaconda mostly forages in shallow water.
It prefers predominantly aquatic environments, such as swamps, marshes, and the slowly moving rivers and streams in several South American countries.
There is reason to believe that this species has been introduced into Florida, although the population in the state is relatively small.
Like green anacondas, these snakes can also function on land.
Their preferred prey is a mix between aquatic and terrestrial animals, particularly birds, other reptiles, and deer.
2. Bolivian Anaconda
The Bolivian anaconda is also called the Bolivian anaconda and Beni anaconda, or by its scientific name, Eunectes beniensis.
Unlike the other anaconda species, the Bolivian anaconda was not always classified as a separate species – it was eventually added to the Eunectes genus as its own distinct species in 2002.
The snake is named after the area it is native to, the Beni region of Bolivia, but there is not a lot of information on this species.
Before it was recognized as a unique species, some biologists and taxonomists believed the Bolivian anaconda was a mix of the green and yellow anaconda species.
Its base hue, which ranges from green to yellowish-brown, and the numerous circular, dark brown splotches that run the whole length of the body give it the appearance of being a hybrid of the green and yellow species at first glance.
Often, the underside of the body is tan or lighter yellow in color.
Bolivian anacondas typically grow as long as 10 to 14 feet and weigh 50 to 70 pounds.
As mentioned, this species is native to the Beni region of Bolivia, preferring to inhabit muddy and swampy areas.
Although Bolivian anacondas are carnivores like the other anaconda species, it is believed that they eat significantly smaller animals than green and yellow anaconda.
These snakes are also non-venomous, meaning they crush their prey with their bodies before eating.
1. Dark-Spotted Anaconda
The dark-spotted anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei) is also called the speckled or De Schauensee’s’ anaconda.
The name is gotten from American naturalist Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee, who donated a specimen to the Philadelphia Zoo in 1924.
Although this species is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, not much is known about it.
The dark-spotted anaconda looks quite similar to the green anaconda, however, it is much smaller.
This snake has greenish-brown colored skin with round, dark brown spots throughout, the primary reason for its common name.
As previously said, this species is considerably smaller than the green anaconda and is thought to be the smallest anaconda in existence.
The average length of the dark-spotted anaconda is between five and seven feet.
There is no accurate measurement of this species’ weight, but it is less bulky and has a slimmer body.
Because of this, it is easier for them to move faster on land than other anaconda species.
The dark-spotted species is native to northeastern South America and is also a semi-aquatic snake, like other anaconda.
These snakes are especially common in Brazil and prefer to inhabit low-lying swamps and marshes.
Most of the species’ population is close to the Amazon River’s mouth, but its natural habitats are being cleared for farming and urban development.
Long and muscular, the snake’s body is well suited for swimming far distances.
It can see while remaining half-submerged because its eyes are positioned high on the skull, and like other anacondas, it kills its prey by constricting.