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A Green Anaconda Can Swallow a Man

Franklin Park Zoo's male green anaconda, which is 11 years old, 12 feet long and weighs a relatively light 50 pounds, gets a routine checkup from its zookeepers in Boston.

Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Few people choose to get up close and personal with anacondas. The green anaconda is the heaviest snake in the world, topping out around 30 feet (9 meters) long, 1 foot (0.3 meter) in diameter, and 550 pounds (250 kilograms) [source: National Geographic].

But green anacondas rarely attack humans, and there are no confirmed cases of a human being eaten by the snake, perhaps due to the rarity of their presence in the snakes' habitat [source: Zoo Atlanta]. They live mostly in the secluded waters of South American rainforests [source: National Geographic].

Still, they could eat a human, considering their typical prey. Smaller meals include fish and wild pigs, but adult white-tailed deer, caimans and the occasional jaguar are on the menu, too. Caimans, which are similar to alligators, can reach 15 feet (4.5 meters) long [source: A-Z Animals]. Jaguars can weigh 350 pounds (159 kilograms) [source: A-Z Animals]. White-tailed deer top out around 7 to 8 feet (2.1-2.4 meters) and weigh up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) [source: National Geographic]. Compare that to the average man with a height of 5 feet 9 inches (1.7 meters) and a weight of 195 pounds (88 kilograms) [source: Statistic Brain].

To swallow larger animals, the snake coils around the prey's body to crush and/or asphyxiate it. Then the snake slowly works the animal down its gullet, head first. It widens its jaws, which are attached by stretchy ligaments before it grabs the prey with its teeth, After a large meal, an anaconda may not dine for months [sources: National Geographic, Rivas].

But not all large prey agrees with them; an anaconda throwing up an entire cow was captured on video.

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