The anaconda is arguably the Amazon's most famous animal. It is the world's heaviest snake, and almost the longest. Specimens over 30 feet are known. However, most are smaller. It is rarely seen, as it is secretive and spends most of the time in water.
Roger Harris (center) making acquaintance with a mild-mannered anaconda (Eunectes murinus). This specimen, about 18 feet long, is kept at the zoo in Leticia (Colombia).
Supporting a 200lb anaconda on your shoulders requires some effort and the help of two handlers. This rather "touristy" activity is the sort of experience unavailable in U.S. zoos.
The world's biggest snake is a fearsome predator and in the wild spends most of its time in water where it lies in wait for prey. Its main food consists of small mammals, aquatic birds and other reptiles.