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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

World’s largest snake now calls the U.S. home.


by: April Cumming

A green anaconda.  (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
A green anaconda. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

They’re as wide as bicycle tires, as heavy as adult humans, and able to swallow full-grown livestock with their giant jaws. Alligators fear them. Fishermen tell far-fetched tales about them. And now, for the first time, green anacondas are here to stay.

As Slate reported last week, green anacondas are native to South America and up until about 10 years ago, the behemoths had never been spotted on U.S. soil. But now, evidence is mounting that the world’s largest/heaviest/possibly scariest snake species has taken up permanent residence in the Florida Everglades. Paddlers and fishermen should especially take note:

Unlike the Burmese pythons, which are found on land and in trees as often as in the water, the green anaconda is an almost wholly aquatic snake. Perhaps this is why the green anaconda can afford to be about 50 percent heavier than a python of the same length. All of that enormous bulk is borne by the water most of the time.

Green anacondas are hardly the first species to invade the Sunshine State (Burmese pythons and Nile monitor lizards come to mind), but given their size and strength, they could prove to be the most troublesome. While there have been no reports of an anaconda consuming a human—yet—you probably don’t want to stumble on one when it’s hungry. To recap: Watch your step in the Everglades, everyone.

(via Slate)

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