First of all, the very general information about anacondas is correct. If you are referring to the green anaconda in the Amazon Basin, they are one of the world’s largest snakes. By sheer bulk, they are considered the largest, but the slimmer reticulated python is actually recorded as slightly longer. (Anacondas are not the largest snakes ever to slither on Earth, however. Fossils of Titanboa have been uncovered suggesting a length of 43 feet.)
Also accurate (somewhat) in the film is the fact that anacondas are not poisonous. They are constrictors, which means they capture their prey and wrap themselves around it, squeezing the life out. Their prey dies from crushing and suffocation, and then the snake consumes it by opening its jaw enough to swallow the food whole. As one of the true kings of the jungle, the anaconda will eat pretty much anything it can catch, which can include birds, small mammals, wild pigs, deer, capybaras and even jaguar, which we see in the film. (However, the snake’s constricting probably won’t result in popping the jaguar’s eye out of its socket.)
Anacondas – and many snakes in general – have been known to regurgitate their food, sometimes mostly undigested. However, unlike the opening titles of the film – which suggest that anacondas do this on a regular basis so they can experience the thrill of the kill again – there is a different reason. More on that later.
Because of their bulk, anacondas spend a lot of time in the water and are adept swimmers, even being able to swim effectively with a huge food baby from a recent feeding. So, probably one of the more surprising elements of the film that is true is the shot of the snake swimming with Owen Wilson stuffed down in its throat.
Finally, the entire reason the documentary crew in Anaconda is on the Amazon River in the first place is to find the lost Shirishama tribe. While that tribe is entirely fabricated, the concept of tribal cultures worshipping snakes is not. In fact, snake worship is quite common in various cultures, along with snake imagery in everything from the Garden of Eden and snake-handling Christians to the Mound Builders of the Ohio Valley and a South Seas tribe that worships Prince Philip.
Even if an anaconda were to capture and eat a human being, the movie would be over. Like all snakes, anacondas have an incredibly primitive digestive system, and it takes a long time for its prey to digest. Anacondas can swim after eating, but the food in their system makes them extremely cumbersome on land. Like most predators, once an anaconda has consumed its prey, it will find a quiet spot to digest it. In the case of a human-sized animal, days or weeks may pass before the snake is ready to feed again. They’re pretty much incapacitated – especially on land – after eating a large meal. They certainly don’t swing through the air with a belly full of Jon Voight in order to puke it up in front of Jennifer Lopez for dramatic effect.
And no, they don’t puke up their food in order to get more kicks by killing again like a villain in a bad biker movie. While snakes regurgitating is not uncommon, it’s not something healthy snakes do on a regular basis. Generally, snakes will only regurgitate if they feel threatened. Getting rid of the food will increase their mobility so they can flee something dangerous.
If all that snake stuff is b.s….
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