Photo credit above: Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute
Green anacondas are not native to Florida and are considered an invasive species due to their impacts to native wildlife. Like all nonnative reptile species, green anacondas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law and can be humanely killed on private property with landowner permission. This species can be captured and humanely killed year-round and without a permit or hunting license on Commission-managed lands in south Florida.
Effective April 29, 2021
In addition, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) lists green anacondas as an Injurious Species under the Lacey Act, preventing the importation of these constrictor snakes into the United States.
The Green Anaconda is considered the world's heaviest snake, with larger animals reaching more than 400 pounds. They are an olive green color with dark dorsal splotches and lighter color blotches along their sides. This species has a blunt head shape with two black stripes on either side of the head, emanating from each eye.
Green anacondas can grow over 21 feet in length and their mid-body diameter can be over a foot. Like pythons, anacondas are nonvenomous constrictors that squeeze their prey to death. Being semi-aquatic, they can easily traverse dry land or lakes and rivers, which makes Florida a good habitat for them. The females tend to be larger than males with almost all of the largest members of the species being female.
Little is known about the longevity of the anaconda, but captive specimens have lived to be 28 years old. Green anacondas give birth to live young and can give birth to more tan 80 offspring at once, although the typical range is 28-42.
Green anacondas feed on a wide variety of animals including fish, reptiles (including caiman), amphibians, tapirs, deer, dogs, capybaras, sheep, and any other animals that come down to drink from the water where the anaconda resides. Smaller anacondas feed primarily on birds and turtles but switch to larger prey as they mature.
Green anacondas are found in large parts of South America as well as a few Caribbean Islands. These animals are typically found near water and in wet, tropical habitats. They are found below 2,800 feet elevation and are not found living where temperatures stay cold for extended periods. Being aquatic, they are thought to escape colder temperatures by retreating to the water especially when the water temperature exceeds the air temperature.
Green anacondas have had relatively few sightings in Florida with a majority of them found around central and north central Florida. They have been reported as far north and Gainesville and as far south as Miami near Everglades City. Click this link to see where the species has been reported in Florida.
Given their size and the variety of animals anacondas may consume, this species would have few predators in Florida and poses a potential threat to a number of native species. However, green anacondas are not currently established in Florida and encounters with the species are unlikely. Green anacondas are large, powerful animals that may pose a threat to human safety if approached or threatened.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the FWC managing green anacondas?
What if I own a green anaconda I can no longer care for?
Released pets remain a primary source of introduced species in Florida. Through the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program, pet owners who are either unable to care for their exotic pets or who no longer wish to keep them can surrender them with no questions asked and without penalties, regardless of whether those pets are kept legally or illegally. The program helps reduce the number of nonnative species being released into the wild by pet owners and fosters responsible pet ownership.
Should I report green anaconda sightings?
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourages reports of green anaconda sightings. You can help by taking a picture, noting the location, and reporting this information using the free IveGot1 mobile app, calling IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681), or by reporting online at IveGot1.org.