Another name for the anaconda is the water boa, an appropriate name for a snake that is almost always found near water. They live in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of tropical South America, and their habitat extends from the Andes, all the way east to Trinidad and part way up the Caribbean side of Central America. The animal moves much more easily swimming than on land. Like the crocodile, the anaconda has nostrils high on its snout so that it can swim with its head above water to breathe. The eyes are also placed high on its head so that it can watch for prey. The snake lies near the shore, waiting for its prey. When a deer, bird, or other prey comes to the water to drink, the anaconda quickly strikes, dragging its victim underwater to drown it. It then eats the unfortunate animal whole. They are nonvenomous. A good meal can last an anaconda for several weeks, during which it will usually lie around in the water content digesting its food.
The green species is larger than the yellow, dark-spotted and Bolivian species. Most weigh several hundred pounds (100 kg) but can reach (reliably) weights of 550 lbs (250 kg) but perhaps even to 1000 lbs (454 kg). They can reach lengths of 36 ft (11 m) and some claim much bigger. The females are generally larger than males. The reason that nobody can say for sure just how big they are is because the biggest snakes probably live deep in the South American jungle where it is terribly difficult to go looking for snakes (even for movie stars like Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez). On top of that the murky water and good natural camouflage make observation more difficult. But as you can see by the photos, when the big snakes are observed by man they are sometimes caught, especially if they have overeaten and can’t move very easily, which gives them more reason to stay deep in the jungle.