Yellow anacondas are regulated as a Prohibited species in the State of Florida. Prohibited species may not be acquired or possessed for commercial sale or kept as pets. A permit is required for public educational exhibition or research or eradication and control.
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.
Like all nonnative reptile species, yellow 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 humanely killed year-round and without a permit on 32 Commission-managed lands in south Florida.
Yellow anacondas are small in comparison to their green anaconda cousins and are one of the few types of snakes that is notably yellow in color. Scale color patterns can range from olive yellow to brownish yellow but it still largely distinguishable. Like other constrictors the yellow anaconda bears a blunt head and like the green anaconda it wears multiple dark streaks emanating from it eyes towards the back of its head. In addition to their yellow color they display many dark back and side spots, with the ones on the back being larger and darker than those on the side. Yellow anacondas are constrictors and squeeze their prey to death. On the smaller side, yellow anacondas rarely reach lengths greater than 9 feet with max reports coming close to 13 feet. Females grow significantly larger than males with males usually only reaching lengths of 5-7 feet while females can attain the maximum lengths mentioned above. Females usually grow to weigh 5-12 pounds but can reach 65+ pounds with a max reported around 110. Males typically weigh closer to 3-7 pounds with a max reported of around 33 pounds. Like others of the Eunectes genus these snakes spend much of their time in and around water.
Clutch sizes average around 20 live offspring with a maximum range of 30-40. Females do not mate every year but most males do.
Yellow anacondas are generalist feeders on a range of vertebrates including birds, turtles, caiman, fish, and rodents. They show a heavy preference for birds like storks, herons, and ducks. Juveniles show a taste for eggs but due to the small size of most animal eggs in relation to the snake’s body size they focus on larger prey as they mature.
Yellow anacondas originate in South America near seasonally swampy or permanently wet habitats. The actual range of their habitat is limited in size but in shape it spans the borders of many South American countries. They are found below 800 feet elevation and can withstand seasonally cold areas where monthly average temperatures are around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. During these times the anacondas retreat to deeper water to stay warm.
We believe that this species has not yet been introduced into Florida's environment because there have only been three sightings. Two were in South Florida near and in the Big Cypress Preserve and one was up by Sarasota. These are just believe to be released pets. See where the species has been reported in Florida.
The generalist feeding habits of the yellow anaconda make it a potential threat to the small birds and mammals of Florida including federally listed species and domestic house pets. Its smaller size and the limited amount of individuals in the wild considerably reduce this threat but the species may propagate if more individuals are released as this habitat is similar to their native range and therefore suitable for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I own a yellow 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 yellow anaconda sightings?
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourages reports of yellow 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.