Yellow Anaconda, Eunectes notaeus

The Eunectes notaeus is a nonvenomous anaconda commonly known as the yellow anaconda. It is exclusively found in South America. The yellow anaconda is named for its ability to swim and their dorsal scales are larger and in fewer rows. Its habitat is made up of swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams and rivers. The species is also beginning to invade the Florida Everglades.

Prey usually includes birds, fish, turtles, lizards, bird’s eggs, small mammals and the decaying fish flesh. The anaconda will use both types of hunting strategies, ambush and watchful. It hunts primarily from June to November since this is when its hunting grounds have not received much rainfall leaving shallow areas. The yellow anaconda has been seen in forest in search of larger prey such as deer.

It grows up to 14 feet and usually weighs between 55 and 77 pounds; larger snakes are rare but can be between 88 and 121 pounds. Females are larger than males by a foot or two. They are a golden-tan yellow or a greenish yellow color with black or dark brown patches or streaks.

Yellow Anacondas are monogamous, mating with one female or male. The female attracts the male by releasing pheromones into the air. The male follows the scent and begins courtship, this takes place in the water and can last for a week to two weeks. Breeding balls, one female entangled with multiple males, have been known to form and can stay in this form for up to a month. Once the largest male has won the battle the mating ritual begins. Breeding occurs once a year and happens from April to May. The gestation period is about 6 months and then the female will give birth to a litter of 4 – 82 fully developed live young. The young are immediately sent out to live on their own and will reach sexual maturity in 3 – 4 years. Anacondas can live between 15- 20 years (23 years if in captivity).

Image Caption: Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus). Credit: “© Patrick JEAN/Nantes Natural History Museum”/Wikipedia