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Published on 31 Oct 2015 | about 1 year ago

Largest snakes of the world - Historical records

Numerous historical accounts of green anacondas are reported, often of improbable sizes. Several zoologists (notably Henry Walter Bates and Alfred Russel Wallace, among others) note rumors of snakes beyond 30 or 40 feet long, but in each case, their direct observations were limited to snakes of approximately 20 feet in length. Numerous estimates and second-hand accounts abound, but are generally considered unreliable. To prove the point of overestimating, in Guyana in 1937, zoologist Alpheus Hyatt Verrill asked the expedition team he was with to estimate the length of a large, curled-up anaconda on a rock. The team's guesses ran from 6.1 to 18.3 m (20.0 to 60.0 ft); when measured, this specimen was found to be 5.9 m (19.4 ft).

Almost all specimens in excess of 6 m (19.7 ft), including a much publicized specimen of 11.36 m (37.3 ft) in length, have no voucher specimens, including skins or bones.

The skin of one specimen, stretched to 10 m (32.8 ft), has been preserved in the Instituto Butantan in São Paulo and is reported to have come from an anaconda of 7.6 m (24.9 ft) in length. In one of the most reliable accounts, a geologist killed a large anaconda and measured it using a four-meter rod, reporting it as three rods long (12 m (39.4 ft)); however, the information was not published until many years later, and the geologist later suggested he may have misremembered and the anaconda could have been only two rods long (8 m (26.2 ft)). While in Colombia in 1978, herpetologist William W. Lamar had an encounter with a large female specimen which measured 7.5 m (24.6 ft) and was estimated to weigh between 136 and 180 kg (300 and 397 lb). In 1962, W.L. Schurz claimed to have measured a snake in Brazil of 8.46 m (27.8 ft) with a maximum girth of 112 cm (3.67 ft). One female, reportedly measuring 7.9 m (25.9 ft) in length, shot in 1963 in Nariva Swamp, Trinidad, contained a 1.5-m caiman. A specimen of 7.3 m (24.0 ft), reportedly with a weight of 149 kg (328 lb), was caught at the mouth of the Kassikaityu River in Guyana, having been restrained by 13 local men, and was later air-lifted for a zoo collection in the United States, but died in ill health shortly thereafter. The largest size verified for E. murinus in captivity was for a specimen kept in Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, which grew to a length of 6.27 m (20.6 ft) by the time she died on July 20, 1960. When this specimen was 5.94 m (19.5 ft) long, she weighed 91 kg (201 lb). The estimated weight for an anaconda in the range of 8 m (26.2 ft) is at least 200 kg (440 lb). National Geographic has published a weight of up to 227 kg (500 lb) for E. murinus, but this is almost certainly a mere estimation. Weight can vary considerably in large specimens depending on environmental conditions and recent feedings, with Verrill's aforementioned specimen, having been extremely bulky, scaled at 163 kg (359 lb), whereas another specimen considered large at 5.06 m (16.6 ft), weighed only 54 kg (119 lb)
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