Anacondas are one of the largest snakes in the world. The maximum verified length of an anaconda is 9 meters (30 feet) but on average they grow to around 4.5 meters (15 feet) for females, and around 2.7 meters (9 feet) for males. Their large size makes them cumbersome on land but they can move swiftly in the water.
Movies and the media have created the false narrative that Anacondas are “man-eaters”. This is simply not true – humans are not on their menu! Anacondas are capable of eating large animals such as capybaras, tapirs, and caimans and use their exceptionally muscular bodies to squeeze their prey until it dies. Squeezing overwhelms the circulatory system and when blood cannot get to the brain, the animal dies.
Activity 1 - False Narratives
What are some other false narratives that movies and the media have spread?
Activity 2 - The Circulatory System
Our circulatory system (also known as the cardiovascular system) consists of three independent systems that work together.
Research and write an essay about how our heart, lungs, arteries and vessels work together to keep us alive. Include in your essay circulatory system diseases and how they can be prevented.
Activity 3 - The Digestive System of an Anaconda
An anaconda’s meal journeys through the esophagus to the stomach where the muscles churn and blend the food like teeth. Unlike many mammals that only keep their food in their stomach for a few hours to a day, the anaconda’s stomach continues to digest its meal for several days or even weeks depending on the size of the meal. From here the meal moves to the small intestine where digestives enzymes secreted from the pancreas, liver and gall bladder further break the food down into nutrients that are absorbed into the bloodstream. The food then passes into the large intestine, where the anaconda’s body begins to process the waste material from the meal. An anaconda is able to digest most of the animal it eats. The only parts remaining are hair and calcium from bone which are excreted in the form of pellets.
Draw the digestion system of a snake. Include in your diagram and label: esophagus, stomach, gall bladder, pancreas, liver, small intestine, large intestine, heart, kidneys, right and left lung, trachea and rectum.
Activity 4 - Why Should We Value Snakes?
Why are snakes important to the ecosystem and how do they benefit humans?
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BECOME AN EARTH PROTECTOR?
If you see a snake, let it be! Do not hurt it or remove it. It is doing its job of eating species that we consider to be pests, such as slugs and rats. Remember, most snakes are harmless and venomous snakes only bite if they are feeling threatened. Learning to live in harmony and respect wildlife is an intention we should all set for ourselves.