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Giant Anaconda Discovered in the Amazon is the World’s Biggest Snake


Amazon Anaconda
The world’s biggest snake was discovered in an Amazon rainforest. Credit: Daniel10ortegavenCC BY-SA 3.0/Wikipedia Commons

The world’s biggest snake, a previously unknown species of giant anaconda, was discovered in an Amazon rainforest.

With a length of up to 7.5 meters and a weight of nearly 500 kilograms, this newfound species now holds the title of the largest and heaviest snake ever discovered.

The Northern Green Anaconda was found by TV wildlife presenter, Professor Freek Vonk, and is as thick as a car tire. “Together with 14 other scientists from nine countries, we discovered the largest snake species in the world, the green anaconda,” Professor Vonk said.

The green anacondas found in the north of their range in South America, which includes Venezuela, Surinam, and French Guiana, appear to belong to a completely different species.

“Although they look almost identical at first glance, the genetic difference between the two is 5.5 percent and that is huge. To put this in perspective, humans and chimpanzees are only genetically different from each other by about 2 percent,” Vonk said.

The researchers have given the new species the Latin name Eunectes akayima, which means the Northern Green Anaconda.

The green anaconda is composed of two distinct genetic species

Previously, only four species were recognized, with the green anaconda being the largest among them. Typically found in the tropical regions of South America, such as the Amazon, Orinoco, and Esequibo river basins, these anacondas are renowned for their swift movements and suffocating methods of hunting prey by coiling around them and swallowing them whole.

However, a recent study spanning several decades has revealed that the green anaconda is composed of two distinct genetic species.

Researchers collaborated with the indigenous Waorani community and conducted studies in the Baihuaeri Waorani Territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where they encountered and studied specimens of the newly identified northern green anaconda (Eunectes akayima).

During their exploration of the Amazonian river system, scientists observed several of these newly identified anacondas, described as “lurking in the shallows, lying in wait for prey.”

According to Bryan Fry from the University of Queensland, who co-authored the study, the size of these creatures was astonishing, with one female anaconda measuring an impressive 6.3 meters in length.

Additionally, there were reports from the Waorani people of even larger anacondas, measuring over 7.5 meters in length and weighing around 500 kilograms.

Numerous historical accounts of green anacondas have been reported, often of improbable size. Several zoologists note rumors of snakes beyond 9 to 12 meters (30 or 40 ft) long, but in each case, their direct observations were limited to snakes around 6 meters (20 ft) in length. Other estimates and second-hand accounts abound but are generally considered unreliable.

*The article was first published in Greek Reporter and was republished with permission.

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