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Anaconda envy in the Iwokrama Rainforest, Guyana

On the drive into the Iwokrama Rainforest in Guyana, my guides mentioned they had seen an anaconda a couple of days ago by the river at a bridge crossing. I asked them how big the snake was. When they told me I gasped, it was much bigger than mine.

Anaconda Iwokrama Rainforest

My guide searching for anacondas

Related – Bird paradise in the Iwokrama Rainforest

Anaconda envy

There is the old cliché that it is not the size of the ship, but the motion of the ocean, but I was landlocked in a Guyana Rainforest, and I wanted an enormous serpent. I had anaconda envy in a big way.

Back when I had a big snake that I could be proud of

Back when I had a big snake that I could be proud of

I used to have a big snake. So big I could wrap it around my neck, but lately my snakes have been small and limp. In fact, my most recent snake was so ashamed of itself it wrapped into a ball and hide. It knew it was no match for the units found in this South America jungle.

Cook's tree boa in Caroni Swamp

A balled up Cook’s tree boa found in Trinidad & Tobago

garter snake Illinois

wimpy garter snake in Illinois

When we stopped at the bridge on the way in we did not see the leviathan. Instead, we only saw a kingfisher. I would have settled for a wood pecker.

Ringed kingfisher Guyana

Only a kingfisher found on the way in

After a walk in the rainforest, we returned to the jeep for a return home. The tour was almost over. Hoping to extenze (pun intended) the trip, we stopped again at the bridge looking for the giant beast. I timidly walked behind my guide in the lush grass by the river.

Hope for an anaconda by the river

We were actually on Guyana’s superhighway. The Georgtown-Lethem Road is the only highway into the interior of country. During the 30 minutes we walked around the green grass looking for snakes, one car passed us by.

Georgetown-Lethem Road Guyana

Georgetown-Lethem Road through the Iwokrama Rainforest

Guyana South America

The bridge where the anaconda was last seen coiled in the grass

The only sign that a long hard creature had been here was the imprint from the slithering mass in the weeds. Looking at the crushed grass where the snake had moved just a couple of days ago was an adventure in of itself.

It was stifling hot in the midday sun with no shade. The river looked inviting for a quick dip, but knowing one of the largest reptiles in the world was afoot put those notions aside. My guide mentioned the river also was home to five foot electric eels and piranhas. I think I will wait for a swimming pool.

Iwokrama Rainforest Guyana

The crushed grass is where the anaconda slithered into the grass

No luck but still a cool experience

In the end, we did not see an anaconda, but it is not every day you get to walk in their path or even look for them period.  The anaconda we were looking for was 12 feet long, which is half the size of the longest one as they have been known to reach 29 feet long and 550 pounds. That is a lot of snake.

Iwokrama Rainforest Guyana

The anaconda likes this grassy environment near rivers

Iwokrama Rainforest Guyana

Anaconda, piranha, and 5 foot electric eels call this home

Anaconda name

The derivation of the word is unknown. Two theories prevail. One is that it means “whip snake” coming from Latinization of Sinhalese henacandaya. Another is it means “elephant killer” coming from the Tamil word anaikkonda, which would be strange since there are no elephants in South America.

The actual name of the anaconda is the green anaconda, and it lives in the Amazon and Orinoco Basin, which includes Guyana. Besides the green, there are three other types of anacondas that are all smaller: the yellow, the Bolivian, and the dark spotted.  They all call South America home. The reticulated python can grow longer, but the anaconda is by girth the biggest snake in the world. It is fitting that the name is green as I was green with envy for those lucky enough to see a snake bigger than mine.

More from my Guyana adventure:

Travel warning Guyana

A man a benab and a hammock

Adventure on!

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39 Responses to Anaconda envy in the Iwokrama Rainforest, Guyana

  1. Kieu December 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    You know.. most people would walk in the opposite direction and NOT go on an anaconda adventure. You’ve got balls. Lol, they are interesting creatures but I’m scared as hell just looking at your snake pictures. Haha
    Kieu recently posted..Tasting Hungary in Budapest

    • travelingted December 19, 2012 at 2:39 am #

      Haha, way to join the pun fest. My guide was a barely five foot Amerindian. I figure if he is in there with no fear than I have nothing to worry about. A twelve foot snake would have a hard time dealing with a human. A bigger one though, and I would have stayed in the truck.

    • Pola (@jettingaround) December 20, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      I’m with Kieu! Talk about an adventure, Ted! Although I have to admit, the snakes in your pictures look… kinda cute.
      Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Boats in the San Diego Harbor

  2. Leigh December 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    And snakes are one of the biggest reasons I am not a fan of the jungles or swamps, or brown muddy water. My best snake story is that I jumped over a rattle snake – and screamed very loudly while doing it. By mistake of course.
    Leigh recently posted..The 10 Most Popular National Parks in Canada

    • travelingted December 19, 2012 at 2:41 am #

      I think I would yell if I jumped over a rattlesnake. That is when they are most dangerous when you don’t see them.

      I was walking in the Smoky Mountains and two feet from my feet in the dead leaves was a copperhead. He did not move and would have done nothing unless I stepped on it. I am sure we walk past such things more than we think, but we never see them due to their camouflage.

  3. D.J. - The World of Deej December 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Must….resist…temptation…to quote…Sir Mix-a-lot…

    Now way dude…Me and snakes are never getting chummy like this…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..The King & Prince Resort – St. Simons Island

    • travelingted December 19, 2012 at 2:45 am #

      Unfortunately, I never got the chance to get chummy.

  4. Jeremy Branham December 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I am not a fan of snakes. However, you had way too much fun writing this one. Guess it made up for not seeing an anaconda.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..A fishing village, an Irish sunset, and an evening in Howth

    • travelingted December 19, 2012 at 2:45 am #

      It was an adventure just looking for one. I remember being a kid and seeing anacondas on Wild Kingdom. I wish I would have seen one, but it was great just being in their environment.

  5. Lisa @chickybus December 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Funny and interesting post–I enjoyed it! Anaconda envy, huh? 🙂
    Lisa @chickybus recently posted..Peacetime Reflections: a Photo Journey Through the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, #Syria #travel #photography

    • travelingted December 19, 2012 at 2:46 am #

      I guess I am sorta an envious person. First it was Nomadic Samuel’s Top 100 and now it is Anacondas.

  6. Todd December 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Interesting article and great pics. I wish I would’ve visited Guyana when in TT. Suriname is on my list of “must-do” posts, though!

    • travelingted December 19, 2012 at 2:47 am #

      French Guinea looks cool too. I would love to do a longer trip through all three and Brazil too of course.

  7. Michael December 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    That’s one coil I’d rather not meet in my trail. I’ve got no envy at all, I can assure, mate.
    Michael recently posted..Some More Walking in Paris

  8. the lazy travelers December 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    the lazy travelers recently travel required

    • travelingted December 19, 2012 at 2:47 am #

      As I said to Easyhiker, big snakes are not for everyone.

  9. Tawny of Captain and Clark December 19, 2012 at 4:58 am #

    Ted, I can only imagine what search terms you’re going to get from this post! It’s probably a good thing that Chris hasn’t read this one yet. His puns are sometimes too much!

    Snakes aside, this was one of my favorites!
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..A harrowing night camping under the stars in Jaisalmer, India.

    • travelingted December 20, 2012 at 1:53 am #

      I am on page one of google with the search term “Anaconda envy” and “big snake envy.” This will definitely draw some different types to the blog.

  10. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures December 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    These pics are amazing! I did this when I was in Brasil in the Amazon. If people hadn’t had been near me, the snake would have easily killed me in a minute. The second they put it around my neck he started to strangle me. Was sooo scary, but I’m glad I did it nonetheless.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..San Francisco & Napa Valley: Day 1

    • travelingted December 20, 2012 at 1:54 am #

      The snake in the picture above was from Thailand. He was pretty docile.

  11. The World Wanderer December 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    First off, how beautiful is this place? I had no idea that Guyana had rain forests like this. Okay, so about the snakes. I don’t know if I’d be all for wrapping on around myself, but if I find myself in the rainforest, you can bet I’m going to want to see one. Maybe next time?
    The World Wanderer recently posted..Printcopia Canvas Print Giveaway!

    • travelingted December 20, 2012 at 1:55 am #

      Guyana is basically one giant rainforest. 80% of the country is covered in trees.

  12. lola December 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    as you know, i am a fan of boas but the pink feathery kind 😉 it may surprise you that i have charmed a snake or 2 and wore them around my neck – but still – kinda a freaky thing. i’ll stick to my feathers and you can keep the scales!
    lola recently posted..a different kind of castle – Four Seasons Prague

    • travelingted January 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      I can attest to the freaky nature of having a scaly beast wrapped around your neck. It is not for the faint of heart.

  13. Leah Travels December 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Damn, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t get past the first two paragraphs, the snake references, and my dirty mind.
    Leah Travels recently posted..Part Deux: Screw the Louvre…I’m Dining with Lionel Richie

    • travelingted January 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

      I needed to make this post more interesting for the people who are not big fans of giant snakes, which is about 90% of the population.

  14. Aleah | December 21, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    Anaconda envy…wow. I know you’re talking about the scary, slimy reptile, but for some reason, I keep thinking you have another thing in mind when you say “snake.” 😉
    Aleah | recently posted..How to Find Cheap Flights

    • travelingted January 6, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Aleah, I am not sure what you are talking about. This post is absolutely innocent, just like little ole me 🙂

  15. @mrsoaroundworld December 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Absolutely not! Are you mad????
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..A stay at The Westbury Hotel in Dublin by @lazytravelers

    • travelingted December 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

      Not mad, just want a big snake 🙂 Isn’t that what every guy wants?

  16. Raul (@ilivetotravel) December 22, 2012 at 3:46 am #

    I don’t want 29 ft of ANYTHING – I don’t know that I would really want to see an anaconda half that size even. You definitely are in it for adventure! Keep the great stories coming so I don’t have to do them!

    • travelingted December 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

      I hope that next time I post success instead of just looking.

  17. Cynthia Scarborough January 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Ted, I remember reading a newsclip several years back where a guy on a bulldozer was attacked by a huge anaconda. That would be some big snake to take on a dozer!
    Cynthia Scarborough recently posted..Kitesurfing In Volusia County

    • travelingted January 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Yikes, I don’t think the one we were looking for could have done that. It was a baby anaconda or at least just a juvenile at 12 feet.

  18. Crazy sexy fun traveler January 7, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I was in the Amazon of Bolivia and didn’t see any anacondas either even though we spent a few hours looking for them with mosquitoes eating us alive. But that snake on the 2nd pic was yours? Argh 😀
    Crazy sexy fun traveler recently posted..Picking up olives for Cultivar Taggiasca olive oil in Finale Ligure

    • travelingted January 7, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      Sounds like a great adventure in Bolivia. The second picture was taken in Thailand. I actually did own a smaller python in my teenage days, but I sold it when I went away to college.


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