Anacondas are considered by some to be one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet, and it’s shocking to know there might even be anacondas in the Florida Everglades.
Are there anacondas in the Florida Everglades?
Although Anacondas are not native to Florida, both Green and Yellow Anacondas still found their way into the Everglades and are living there along with other species of snakes like the Burmese Python.
Since they primarily keep to themselves in the water, where they camouflage so well, they could have hidden from us for decades. Although there’s no telling how long they’ve been living in the Everglades, the first recorded sighting was off the Trail Lakes Campground in 2003.
It’s still unclear exactly how many are in the Everglades, but we do know that the females are capable of reproducing up to 80 babies a year!
We don’t exactly know how the Anaconda showed up in South Florida, but we suspect it came from the importation and uncontrolled release of exotic species into the wild.
The Florida Everglades
The Everglades National Park consists of more than 1.5 million acres and is discoverable at the bottom of Florida’s peninsula.
The climate is humid and warm, similar to that of South America. The National Park is the ideal habitat for Anacondas to survive. It is full of swamps, mangroves, marshes, and rivers that hold the ultimate access to fish, mammals, and other reptiles to satisfy their enormous appetite.
Partnering the climate with the fact that the majority of the Everglades remain isolated from the human population, this is a perfect breeding ground for the Anaconda.
Anaconda Sightings in the Everglades
Anaconda sightings occur more often on the East Coast of the Everglades, where the Park meets the ocean, and human interaction is more likely.
There have been more of these sightings traveling upstate, which is cause for some serious concern. Not only in regards to human safety, but also the growing population of Anacondas could damage the already strained ecosystems of Florida. Florida already has the python problem they need to fix. The Anaconda problem could pose an even more significant threat.
About The Anaconda
The Anaconda is massive and can reach up to 30 feet long! They are not venomous; however, they are deadly.
Anacondas are water snakes. Their eyes sit on top of their heads, allowing them to submerge their whole bodies while still seeing above the waters surface. While under the water, they can stalk their prey without being seen.
These are very large, strong creatures whose powerful restricting capabilities are used to wrestle their prey until its heart stops. Then they use the flexible joints in their jaws to stretch their mouths around their prey and swallow it whole.
An adult Anaconda will only need to hunt once every four to six weeks. It takes the Anaconda minutes to kill, hours to consume, and up to a week to digest.
These snakes don’t lay eggs. Instead, they birth their young, like the others in the boa family. Each gestation period can produce up to 40 offspring. Each gestation period is six months long, meaning they are capable of reproduction twice a year, yielding up to 80 offspring per year!
- Reach up to 30 feet in length
- Weigh up to 550 pounds
- Enjoy the water
- Suffocate their prey
- Reproduce 40 offspring at a time
- Live in warm, humid environments
The Anaconda species is native to South America but is primarily known to inhabit the Amazon Rainforest.
Green Anaconda vs. Yellow Anaconda
Green Anacondas are olive green in appearance with shades of black along the backside of their bodies. They weigh much more than the Yellow Anacondas, gaining up to 550 pounds! Because of this colossal weight they are considered one of the most enormous snakes in the world.
The Green Anaconda can grow as long as a school bus and reach more than 12 inches in diameter.
The Yellow Anacondas are a dirty yellow color with black splotches along its back and is much smaller than the Green Anaconda, only gaining 80 pounds.
The Yellow Anaconda is shorter in length, reaching about 15 feet.
Nonetheless, both Anacondas are aggressive predators that dominate the food chain.
How Did The Anaconda Find Florida?
Like with the Burmese Python and other large serpents, Anacondas found their way to the Everglades due to pet owners releasing snakes that they didn’t want anymore into the wild. The snakes suddenly find themselves in a very friendly environment with plenty of food sources, and they thrived.
Lawmakers believe these creatures were imported to the US and traded across state lines.
These snakes get imported because they are known for size and strength, making it a “perfect” pet for showing off. The animal is declared “injurious,” but people still managed to want them.
For the longest time, Anacondas were not on the United States illegal species list, and it remained off Florida’s prohibited species list until recently, in 2019. Since there wasn’t any federal regulation on these snakes until 2012, it was easy for Floridians to acquire them across state lines.
Many people who get Anacondas as pets, do so as babies. Then they often decide, once the snakes have grown significantly larger, that they can no longer handle them. So, they dump them into the Everglades where they live the rest of their lives.
Florida law regarding anacondas
Florida lawmakers have noticed the rising number of Anacondas in state in the past year. They decided to put Anacondas on the prohibited species list as of February 2019.
It is not clear if the state will issue a bounty for Anacondas like they did the Pythons. But, we do know they are a more significant threat to the environment!
The gigantic Anacondas has indeed been invading the Florida Everglades. No one knows how long they have resided in Florida, but it became documented in 2003. Anacondas can produce 40 offspring every six months. The population of Anacondas in the Everglades is unknown, but sightings have increased over the last few years.
The Anaconda has been banned from importation into the United States since 2012 and prohibited from Florida as of 2019. It’s not clear what Florida’s next steps are to eliminate the threat of this constrictor. The legislature may put a bounty out for snakes like they did the python, but all that is still to be determined.