Photo @tbfrost | Words by @paulrosolie | What makes anacondas so hard to study is they spend most of their time below water or mud. This means that even giant individuals can be impossible to detect. We had been searching for over thirty-five days in swamps and on rivers, without finding a single one. This 7-8ft individual came to us, strangely enough, by way of Instagram! First sighted by researchers who posted the photo, it was then discovered by Ecuadorian photographer @luksth , who alerted us. We traveled for 2 hours up the Tambopata River here in Peru to observe her. What made it extra exciting is she had just eaten an agouti (a house-cat-sized Amazonian rodent) below a mammal colpa or clay lick. It wasn’t the largest anaconda we’ve ever seen, but what is significant here is her behavior. Anacondas appear to travel long distances up forest streams to access mammal colpas (salt deposits) where the prey is abundant. This is a new behavior for an apex predator that we still know very little about. Just part of an ongoing effort to better understand the numbers, habits, ecology, and intelligence of these mysterious giants.
To see a photo of the ENTIRE snake with food in her belly, follow @tbfrost