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Captive Care of the World’s Largest Snake – Keeping the Green Anaconda

Anaconda by TruckFor a snake enthusiast such as I, not much can top the thrill of working with Green Anacondas (Eunectes murinus), in the wild and breeding them in captivity.  I consider myself very fortunate, and realize that the childhood dream I was able to live is not available to most people.  So I’m somewhat torn when asked to comment on Anacondas in private collections.  Capable of killing an adult, and far too large to be accommodated in most homes, they are obviously not suitable choices for most people.  However, Anacondas do appear in the trade, and have been successfully kept and bred.  For those with the required space, training and finances, they are, I know, hard to resist.  Today I’ll cover the key points to consider before making a decision on these fascinating, but dangerous, behemoths.

If you really are set on owning a large, usually aggressive aquatic snake, you might consider the Yellow Anaconda, Eunectes notaeus.  It is not an animal to be taken lightly, but makes a more reasonable pet than the Green Anaconda.  Actually, I suggest “cutting your teeth” on an adult Florida Green Watersnake, Nerodia floridana.  Reaching nearly 6 feet in length, this often vile-tempered beast is a handful, and may change your mind about its larger cousins! Read More »

Mate Selection and Sperm Competition in the Painted Dragon, Ctenophorus pictus, and Other Reptiles

Females of many animal species are polyandrous, meaning that they mate with several males. Often, we are learning, the sperm survives for some time inside the female, and competes with the sperm of other males. In this way, only the “fittest” sperm will prevail and fertilize the eggs, assuring vigorous offspring. Females choose mates based on a wide variety of factors, and the criterion used by Australia’s painted dragon lizards turn out to be quite unique.

In contrast to most lizards, male painted dragons have either red or yellow heads, and are chosen by females based on their head color. Research published this week (WollongoGreen Anacondang University) has revealed that female dragons do not choose 1 color over another, but rather seek to mate with 1 male having a red head and 1 with a yellow head.It is theorized that by choosing males of both colors, the female is assuring that she is mating with more than 1 male, and not with the same male twice.

Polyandry among reptiles can result in amazing spectacles – I shall never forget the sight of a huge “breeding ball” – 9 males and 1 female- of green anacondas, Eunectes murinus, on the Venezuelan llanos. In many different animals, sperm can remain alive and able to fertilize eggs for years to come. Queen termites mate once and somehow produce fertilized eggs for up to 20 years after!

Further information concerning research with this species at Wollongong University is available at:


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