Category Archive 'Anaconda'

02 Sep 2016

Wessie Identified as Green Anaconda

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WestbrookSnakeskin
National Geographic reports that the Westbrook, Maine snakeskin has been identified as coming from a Green Anaconda.

August 21st — Snakeskin story

Westbrook officials sent a sample of the snakeskin off to John Palcyk, a biologist at the University of Texas at Tyler, for genetic analysis. Placyk then sequenced the skin’s mitochondrial genome and found that it belonged to an anaconda—a shocking find that officials announced on August 30.

“It was pretty unexpected, I’ll tell you that,” Palcyk said to Steve Annear of the Boston Globe. “This was a 100 percent match to an anaconda.”

To refine the ID, Placyk sent along his sequence to Jesús Rivas, an anaconda expert at New Mexico Highlands University, who compared it to a genetic database of anacondas from across South America.

In a phone call, Rivas says that the skin belongs to a female green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) that’s at least 10 to 12 years old, based on the skin’s size. The snake’s genetic quirks also suggest that its ancestors were most likely from Peru or Bolivia, though the snake probably was bred in the United States. (Find out more about green anacondas—the world’s largest snakes, pound for pound.)

So how did the snake end up in Maine?

First, it’s still not clear whether the skin’s placement was an elaborate hoax meant to stoke Wessie hype. But if Westbrook is legitimately home to a loose anaconda, Lally thinks that it was released into the wild by its owners, perhaps because they could no longer care for it.

“It would have had to come from someone who either caught it or bought it somewhere, brought it here, and then decided to let it go, for some reason,” he says.

The green anaconda can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh a whopping 200 pounds. That’s a big body to feed. And the world’s largest rodent, the capybara, is the perfect entree.

This sort of reptile buyer’s remorse is rare in Maine, says Lally, but it happens elsewhere in the United States. In Florida, the phenomenon has contributed to a booming—and ecologically disastrous—population of Burmese pythons in the Everglades, an invasive group seeded mostly by the 1992 destruction of a reptile breeding facility by Hurricane Andrew. (Find out how pythons have wreaked havoc on Florida’s native wildlife.)

But given the snake’s size and age, Rivas suspects that its owners were dedicated, and he maintains instead that the anaconda got out of its enclosure. “People who have a snake of this size normally are responsible keepers, [and] it’s very unlikely that they don’t have the awareness that the snake won’t survive in the wild,” says Rivas. “I doubt that it was released; more likely, it escaped.”

If Wessie’s owners accidentally lost her, however, there’s a good reason why they aren’t putting up “lost pet” signs: It’s illegal in Maine to own an anaconda.

Regardless, Maine’s bitterly cold winter ensures that the snake’s escape will be brief, one way or another. In the wild, Rivas says that anacondas aren’t found in areas with temperatures below 72°F. Temperatures below 50°F are considered fatal, and night temperatures in Maine are poised to cross that threshold.

“If there is an anaconda, it’ll be dead pretty soon,” says Lally.

Lally adds that the snake doesn’t pose a major public safety threat, though he recommends that people not let their dogs and cats loose along the Presumpscot River. In the meantime, officials continue to look for the snake—and Rivas remains hopeful that they can catch it alive and unharmed.

“It’s a curiosity, not a crisis,” says Rivas. “The only one in danger here is the anaconda.”

Full story.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

17 May 2016

Large, Dead Anaconda Video

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A video featuring a very large, dead anaconda turned up on Facebook today via an Oriental source. It certainly looks real.

I found another version with a slightly different view of the critter.

Via Creepy Basement.

08 Nov 2014

Coming December 7: “Eaten Alive”

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anacondaeating

IJReview alerts us to an upcoming television first.

Discovery Channel’s Eaten Alive is airing an episode in which wildlife enthusiast and filmmaker Paul Rosolie is consumed by one of the largest anacondas in the world. Rosolie wore a snake-proof suit that helped him live through the horrifying stunt.

Rosolie and his team searched through the depths of the Amazon to capture the monstrous snake so that he could performer the daredevil act. After Rosolie is inside the suit, he will be covered in pig’s blood in order to make himself more appealing to the snake, then will proceed to go head first into the mouth of the beast. …

During the stunt, Rosolie is connected to a cord, which his team used to pull him safely out after he was swallowed whole.

While the Discovery Channel is keeping most of the details quiet for obvious reasons, they have said the snake lived through the stunt and was not harmed.

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Sneak Peek:

21 Sep 2014

Merry Pranksters Have Fun With Anaconda

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The snake had just fed. Otherwise, I expect things would have rapidly got a lot more interesting for the chap in the boat.

11 Nov 2013

Really Large Anaconda

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04 May 2013

What If It Wakes Up?

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Biologist Daniel De Granville photographing Giant anaconda (Eunectes murinus) underwater in Brazil.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

09 Nov 2012

23-Foot Anaconda

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Diving in the Patanal in Brazil, Daniel de Granville films a 23-foot long yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus). These are smaller anacondas which do not grow as large as the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus). (!)

They are shy creatures, we are told, with more to fear from us than we from them. It is a tolerant animal (after all, it didn’t eat the photographer), but we are cautioned “that it is still important to treat them with respect.” Personally, I have plenty of respect for 23-foot long serpents.

The text is pitiful drivel, but the photographs are interesting. You don’t see one of these every day.

09 Feb 2007

66-Year-Old Brazilian Saves Grandson From Anaconda

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5-meter-long (16.4-foot-long) anaconda

Washington Post:

A 66-year-old Brazilian saved his grandson from the grip of a 16-foot-long anaconda (probably Eunectes murinus),by beating the snake with rocks and a knife for half an hour, police said Thursday.

“When I saw the snake wrapped around my grandson’s neck I thought it was going to kill him,” Joaquim Pereira told the Agencia Estado news service. “It was agonizing, I pulled it from one side, but it would come back on the other.”

Pereira’s 8-year-old grandson, Mateus, was attacked by the anaconda near a creek on his grandfather’s ranch in the city of Cosmorama, about 250 miles northwest of Sao Paulo.


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