Yellow Anaconda Snake

Yellow Anaconda Snake

Just like the other three anaconda species, the Yellow Anaconda is native to the South American jungle where it inhabits rivers and swamps and kills its prey through suffocation. The scientific name for the Yellow anaconda is Eunectes notaeus. The three other anaconda species are Eunectes beniensis (Bolivian Anaconda), Eunectes deschauenseei (Dark-spotted Anaconda) and Eunectes murinus (Green Aanaconda).

Nobody knows for sure the origins of the word anaconda, but it is believed to stem from Sinhalese or Tamil. In Sinhalese, the word 'henakanday' means thunder snake, and this word may have been corrupted into our modern 'anaconda'. In Tamil, the word 'anaikondran' means 'elephant killer' and as you can see it is also very similar to 'anaconda'. There is however a problem with this explanation: Sinhalese and Tamil are both Asian languages, while the anacondas are native to the South American continent. It may have something to do with the similarity between anacondas and Asian pythons. In South America, the anacondas are known under many different local names, including Jibóia, Sucuri and Yakumama. The Spanish name is Matatoro, which means 'bull killer'.


The average Yellow Anaconda is around 10 feet (3 meters) long, which makes this species considerably smaller than the infamous Green Anaconda. The body of the Yellow Anaconda has a yellowy brown base colour and is decorated with black rosettes, blotches and pairs of overlapping spots.

Geographic range

Compared to the Green Anaconda, the Yellow Anaconda is found further south; in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, western Brazil and north-eastern Argentina. It is therefore sometimes referred to as the Southern Anaconda.  

Yellow Anaconda behaviour and diet

The Yellow Anaconda spends most of its time coiled up in shallow pools close to the edge of a river or stream. When a suitable prey comes to near, e.g. because it needs to drink, the anaconda will ambush it. The Yellow Anaconda uses its sharp teeth and powerful jaws to hold the prey and force it under the water's edge. Sometimes the prey will die from drowning, in other situations it will be asphyxiated by the anaconda's muscular coils. Each time the animal exhales, the anaconda will squeeze it even tighter until it can no longer breathe. The killing is normally a rapid affair and as soon as the animal is dead, the anaconda will start swallowing it head first. By starting with the head, the legs of the animal will fold up and make it possible for the anaconda to swallow even really big animals. Its diet includes deer, boar, large rodents, birds and fish. Just like many other snakes, the Yellow Anaconda is equipped with a jaw that can unhinge and jaw bones that are only loosely connected to the skull. During feeding, the muscles of the snake engage in wave-like contractions that serves to crush the prey and prompt it deeper down into the snake's belly.

Anacondas cannot deliver venomous bites; they relay on their size and power to drown and suffocate their prey. Being bitten by a Yellow Anaconda is not more dangerous than getting any other type of wound; the main concern is infection.


The Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) is not included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Anaconda Snake articles:

Anaconda Snake Care
Green Anaconda Snake