The anaconda is a large snake found in South America and the green anaconda is considered to be one of the largest snakes in the world. The word anaconda may have derived from the Tamil word anaikondran, meaning elephant killer, or anaikkonda, meaning having killed an elephant.
The word anaconda was first used in a 1768 description of a large snake found in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and became a myth, the anaconda of Ceylon.
An average size for the anaconda is about 20 feet and weighing 330 pounds, with the largest recorded and confirmed size being 25 feet long. Reports of giant anacondas ranging to 60 feet have been told, but lack confirmation.
Sightings of giant anacondas have been reported since the discovery of South America. Colonists told of these giant snakes reaching 150 feet.
Anacondas over 23 feet are rare, and the Wildlife Conservation Society has offered a cash reward for a live capture of an anaconda measuring over 30 feet. The prize has never been claimed.
In a petroleum expedition in 1944, reports of a 37-foot anaconda was claimed but never proven. Vincent Roth, a scientist, reported he shot and killed a 34-foot specimen, but no evidence has been found.
Photographs of large anacondas have been taken but actual lengths cannot be determined. Historian Mike Dash states that if no credible evidence of a 60-foot anaconda has been found, then longer specimens could not exist.
A giant anaconda has been portrayed in movies, most notably in the Anaconda films. Anaconda; Anacondas: The hunt for the Blood Orchid; Anaconda 3: Offspring and Anacondas: Trail of Blood.
Image Caption: The South American green anaconda. Credit: Wagnermeier/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)