Hearing someone scream “snake!” can cause people to panic. And when you’re in the shallow, murky rivers of South America, home to the deadly anaconda, you realize this is not a garden snake coming towards you. It’s a green anaconda.
These are not small snakes. It’s often said that green anacondas can grow up to 9 m in length (30 ft,) and they can weigh as much as 225 kg (550 lb). Anacondas’ prey ranges from 10% of their body weight all the way up to 146%.
So, humans are fair game. What should you do if you are attacked by this deadly beast? Why is it important to hold your breath? What should you do if you get bit? And how could your teeth become your best defensive weapon?
It only takes seconds for an anaconda to wrap around its prey, and squeeze it to death. And no matter how strong you are, the snake can create up to 62,053 KPas (9,000 psi) of pressure.
Anacondas have a legendary status as man eaters. So if you’re going into anaconda territory, here’s some tips to help you survive.
Step 1. Push Your Hand Inside the Snake’s Mouth
If an anaconda is nearby, watch its face. An anaconda shows its predatory behavior by flicking its tongue. And if it bites you, do not yank yourself away, or try to forcefully pull yourself out of its mouth.
An anaconda’s inner teeth curve backward to hold onto its prey. So if you try to pull out of the snake’s mouth right away, it can cause serious injuries. Getting out in this situation will be much easier if you have someone else to help you.
Ask them to slowly open the anaconda’s mouth. As they do that, push your hand, or whatever body part is being bitten, further inside the snake’s mouth. This will get it off the snake’s fangs. Then, you can get out of the snake’s mouth without causing even more injuries.
Step 2. Wear Proper Gear
You might feel safer if you wear clothing that’s harder for these snakes to bite through. This includes thick gloves, sturdy shoes, and thick clothing. But what if you set out to become snake bait?
Paul Rosolie, a naturalist, agreed to be swallowed whole by an anaconda for a TV special. They thought the snake might regurgitate him. And if necessary, they could cut him free.
He wore a special carbon fiber suit designed to withstand the snake’s fangs, constriction powers, and digestion, so he would survive the ordeal. The suit was doused in pig blood to make it more appealing. But when Paul approached the anaconda, the snake was afraid and tried to escape.
So, Rosolie provoked the snake. It eventually attacked, swallowed his head first, and began squeezing. He was inside the snake for an hour. Then, Rosolie was worried that the anaconda was going to break his arm. He cried out in fear and pain and asked the crew to rescue him. They did.
Step 3. Hold Your Breath
If an anaconda grips the middle of your body, do not exhale. It’s like a signal to the snake. Every time you exhale, the snake will squeeze tighter. That could prevent you from getting your breath back.
Step 4. Stay Away From the Water
Anacondas like shallow, murky rivers. So, stay on land, or get yourself to land as fast as possible when anacondas are around. They’re great swimmers, but they’re not fast slitherers on land. Run towards land, and keep running until you get as far away as possible.
Step 5. Bite the Snake
You couldn’t get away fast enough. An anaconda puts the bite on you, and it has no intention of letting you go. Remember, its weakest spots are its tail and its eyes. Go on the offense. Open wide, and bite the snake’s tail as hard as you can.
It will cause the anaconda tremendous pain, and hopefully the snake will let go. Use your fingers as aggressively as you can, and poke its eyes. Eyes are a crucial organ that these huge snakes will try to preserve. The truth is, a human is not an anaconda’s ideal prey. Its average meal weighs around 18 kg (40 lb). But if you find yourself being attacked by another predator, remember, we have you covered right here on How to Survive.
- “What If You Were Swallowed By An Anaconda? | What If Show”. 2021. What If Show.
- “Anaconda Facts | Live Science”. Jessie, Szalay. 2021. livescience.com.
- “Predatory attack of a green anaconda ( Eunectes murinus ) on an adult human”. researchgate.net
- “Myth Debunked: Boa Constrictors Don’t Suffocate Prey To Death”. Laura. Geggel. 2021. livescience.com.
- “Natural History – The Land Of The Anaconda”. 2021. anacondas.org.
- “Eaten Alive By Anaconda: Why I Did It | TODAY” 2021. youtube.com.