Animal Fact Sheets

RANGE MAP
yesllow anaconda range map

YELLOW ANACONDA

(Eunectes notaeus)


 

Classification and Range

The yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) belongs to the family of snakes, Boidae, which contains the world’s largest snake species including pythons, boas and anacondas. The family Boidae is further divided into several subfamilies; anacondas belong to the subfamily Boinae. There are four species of anaconda in the genus Eunectes. Anacondas live in aquatic environments including swamps, marshes and brush covered banks of slow moving rivers and streams.

Physical Characteristics

Yellow anacondas have a pattern of dark brown or black blotches, spots or streaks against a yellow or greenish-yellow background. Though the yellow anaconda is not as large as its more soberly colored relative, the common anaconda, it is a sizeable snake reaching an average length of 10 feet (3 m).

Life Span

15-20 years in the wild and zoos

Life Cycle

Yellow anacondas are constrictors that will generally lay and wait at the water’s edge for unsuspecting prey to come along and drink. The prey is quickly grabbed and constricted and suffocated, or pulled under water to drown. Anacondas may also actively hunt on land.

Snake With Legs?

The yellow anaconda like other members of the boa family is a relatively primitive snake retaining a vestigial pelvic girdle and hind limbs. The “limbs” are present as external spurs located on either side of the common excretory and reproductive tract. Spurs are larger in males and are used in courtship and mating to stimulate the female.

Location at the Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo’s yellow anacondas are located in the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. As visitors enter the exhibit, they are immersed in a garden of tropical rain forest plants such as fan palms, bananas, cocoa, figs and hanging liana vines. The anacondas can be seen in the water or dangling from the riverbank, waiting for prey.

Conservation Connection

Woodland Park Zoo’s yellow anacondas are located in the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. As visitors enter the exhibit, they are immersed in a garden of tropical rain forest plants such as fan palms, bananas, cocoa, figs and hanging liana vines. The anacondas can be seen in the water or dangling from the riverbank, waiting for prey.

How You Can Help!

The effort to save endangered species requires cooperation and support at the international, national, regional and individual levels. You can help in this cause. Join and become active in Woodland Park Zoo and other conservation organizations of your choice. Please do not buy products made from wild animal parts. Contact your elected representatives and express your views about conservation of endangered species and wild habitats. To find out about ways you can support conservation programs at the zoo contact us at webkeeper@zoo.org. Learn other ways you can help conserve wildlife and the habitats they require for survival by visiting our How You Can Help page.

Reptiles as Pets

We do not recommend reptiles as pets for most people as they require very specialized diets and environments. We also receive hundreds of requests each year to take former pet iguanas, boas and other reptiles but we cannot accept these due to space, health and unknown backgrounds. If you need to find a reptile or amphibian a new home, we suggest you contact a local herpetological group in your area. In the Puget Sound region, it is the Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society.

Humans need snakes and other reptiles

Here are only a few of the benefits they provide:
-Reptiles help keep animal populations in balance. Reptiles consume many animals that humans consider as pests, including mice, rats and destructive species of insects. This helps to control disease and damage to crops.

-Snake venom is used in medical research and provides effective medicines to fight certain human diseases.

Sources and Suggested Reading

Burton, Maurice. 1984. Encyclopedia of Reptiles, Amphibians & Other Cold-Blooded Animals. BPC Publishing Ltd., San Sebastian, Spain. 252 p.

Mattison, Chris. 1986. Snakes of the World. Facts On Life Publications, New York, NY. 190 p.

Pope, Clifford. 1961. The Giant Snakes. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY. 290 p. .

For Kids!

Markle, Sandra. 1995. Outside and Inside Snakes. MacMillian Books, New York, NY. 40 p.

esmick, Jane P. 1996. Eyes on Nature: Snakes. Kidsbooks, Inc., Chicago, IL. 29 p.

Zoobooks. 1992. Snakes. Wildlife Education, Ltd., San Diego, CA. 16 p.

Yellow Anaconda Taxonomy

Phylum: Chordata
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata
Family: Boidae
Genus:Eunectes
Species:E. notaeus

Yellow Anaconda Fascinating Facts

  • The yellow anacondas in the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit live on the forest floor. Here the anacondas can be seen in the water or dangling from the riverbank waiting for prey!
  • The yellow anaconda’s larger relative, the common (green) anaconda, is the largest snake, reaching a length of up to 30 feet (9.1 m)!
  • Anacondas are sometimes referred to as water boas because they spend so much of their lives in or near water!
  • Courtship, mating and birth frequently take place in water!
 
 
 
 

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