A complete guide to Yellow Anaconda Care

The Yellow Anaconda is a species of snake closely related to the infamous Green Anaconda. The ‘Yellow Annie’ does not grow as large, in size or weight as its close relative but it is a snake with its own unique characteristics and reputation.

Like their cousin, the Yellow Anaconda can be found in South America along the humid waterways of the Amazon Basin. Their scientific name is Eunectes Notaeus.

Yellow Anaconda Care Sheet
Image Courtesy of Jim Parks

Yellow Anaconda Description

The Yellow Anaconda is smaller in size than the Green Anaconda. They grow to an average length of about 10-12ft. Females are generally larger than males with specimens reportedly measuring over 15ft, although this is rare.

The average Yellow Anaconda weighs around 30kg although this can vary greatly depending on the snake’s size. They are a relatively slender snake in comparison to their overall size, but they are still quite muscular.

As their name suggests, they are predominantly a yellow snake with darker brown or black blotches. The number of dark blotches can vary but they are generally heavily covered in these markings.

Their heads appear quite different from other snakes. They have large eyes that are positioned towards the top of their heads. Their nostrils are also located towards the top of the head. This allows the snake to see and breathe while being almost fully submerged in water.

Natural Habitat and Distribution

When you speak about a snake from South America it is commonly perceived that it will be found in a secluded part of the Amazon. After all this Rainforest is enormous and is home to countless species of reptiles.

However, the Yellow Anaconda can be found further south in the central part of the continent. It is native to countries such as Paraguay and Bolivia and can also be found in South-West Brazil and in a small region of Northern Argentina.

The snake can be found along the Paraguan river in a vast area of wetlands known as the Pantanal Region. This is a World Heritage Site that is estimated to measure about 150,000 square kilometers.

The Yellow Anaconda is primarily found in wetter habitats such as swamps marshes and along the banks of the Paraguayan River. You would be more likely to find them in slow moving water than on dry land.

They share some of their range with species such as the False Water Cobra, Brazilian Blue Tarantula, Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman and the Guyana Pink Toe Tarantula.

Yellow Anaconda Behavior

In captivity, Yellow Anacondas are known for having a fierce reputation. These snakes are often difficult to tame, and many specimens will continue to show aggression for the duration of their life.

Yellow Anaconda Care
Image Courtesy of Maik Dobiey

In the wild, these snakes are semi-aquatic and have evolved to be an expert aquatic hunter. The snakes head is almost frog like with the eyes and nostrils positioned towards the top of the head. This allows the snake to ambush prey from the water with most of its body fully submerged.

The Yellow Anaconda is a solitary snake and is generally only found with other snakes during breeding. While they have a fierce reputation, the truth is this snake would much prefer to flee the dangers of a human but will defend itself if it feels threatened.

Yellow Anaconda Lifespan

A Yellow Anaconda has a long lifespan with snakes commonly living for 15 to 25 years in captivity. Wild animals will generally live slightly shorter lives but will still commonly live for about 15 years.

Owning a large snake that lives for up to 20 years is a big commitment. You need to be prepared to feed and care for the snake for the duration of its life before considering purchasing one.

Yellow Anaconda’s as Pets

The Yellow Anaconda would be regarded as a snake for advanced keepers due to their large size and unpredictable nature. This snake is not suitable for beginners and many people don’t realise how difficult these snakes can be to take care of, especially if you have an aggressive snake.

The Yellow Anaconda is a beautiful snake, but it is best to get experience with a more docile large snake such as a Burmese Python or even a Boa Constrictor before attempting to acquire a Yellow Anaconda.

If you are ready to take the jump and acquire one of these snakes it is best to purchase a juvenile so you can build up a relationship with the snake as it grows. If you are acquiring an adult, it is best to purchase it off a reputable breeder and handle it before you buy it to ensure you know what to expect when you take the snake home.

Many people selling adult Yellow Anaconda’s buy the snakes as juveniles and can’t manage them as adults. Be careful if purchasing your first Anaconda this way as you may end up in the same difficult situation as the person you bought the snake from.

Feeding a Yellow Anaconda

The Yellow Anaconda is a ferocious feeder. They should be fed an appropriately sized meal every 7-10 days. Larger animals that eat large meals can even be fed less frequently. It is important to remember that just because these snakes will readily accept a meal, it doesn’t mean they are hungry, and it would be very easy to overfeed them.

Large Yellow Anacondas will usually eat large or extra-large rats. Larger snakes may even need to be fed rabbits. This is important to remember before considering purchasing one of these snakes.

Babies will usually start feeding on rat pups and the size of the meal should be increased as the snake grows. A good rule of thumb is to feed the snake a meal that is slightly smaller than the largest part of the snake’s body.


A Yellow Anaconda is a large snake and as a result they will require a large enclosure. At a minimum, a 6ft long enclosure is required for a large adult. These enclosures are very expensive to purchase so a custom-built wooden vivarium is probably the best option.

However, the problem with a wooden enclosure is that the setup needs to be very humid. Wood will quickly warp and rot under these conditions, so it is a good idea to seal the inside of the enclosure with a non-toxic sealant.

The heat source should be placed at one end of the enclosure to provide a thermal gradient. It is not always possible to provide a hide at either end of such a large snakes enclosure, but this is important for juveniles, as they can get quite stressed.

It is important to always have a clean source of water in the enclosure. This will ensure the snake can stay hydrated. A Yellow Anaconda will also appreciate if the water bowl is large enough for them to soak in. Frequent water changes are vital as the snake will bathe and defecate in the bowl.

Yellow Anaconda Size
Image Courtesy of Suzette Stidom

Light and Heat

A Yellow Anaconda requires a hot spot of around 32oC while the ambient temperature in their enclosure should be around 25oC. This can be achieved by placing the heat source at one end of the enclosure. There will then be a natural thermal gradient as the snake moves away from the heat source.

You can use a heat mat or an overhead heat bulb or ceramic bulb to supply heat for the snake. Whatever method you choose to use it is important to control the heat with a high-quality thermostat.

Yellow Anacondas like high humidity and a large water bowl. Extra care should be taking with electrical equipment in a humid environment. If you are using a moist natural substrate overhead heating is probably a better option than belly heat. The downside of this is that this type of heat source drains humidity from the enclosure so you will need to closely monitor humidity levels.

It is also a good idea to place the water bowl on the opposite side of the enclosure away from the heat source. This will prevent the water from getting too hot and it will also minimise the possibility of electrical equipment getting wet if the water bowl is toppled.

These snakes do not require UV lighting, but they do require a natural day/night cycle. They do well with 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. This can be adjusted seasonally.

While they do not require full spectrum lighting, it is believed that these snakes will benefit from such lighting if it is available to them. Yellow Anacondas have been observed basking under full spectrum lighting when it is supplied.


A Yellow Anaconda will do well on a wide range of substrates. As these snakes like high humidity, the best option is to choose a substrate that will hold humidity without moulding. Some options here include Cypress Mulch, Coco Fibre and Sphagnum Moss.

The substrate should be a couple of inches deep. This will allow the snake to burrow and it also makes it easier to spot clean. Spot cleaning is vital any time the snake goes to the toilet. You should also keep an eye out for mould and remove it as soon as it becomes visible.

If you are using a natural substrate, you can add clean-up crew to the enclosure. Spot cleaning will still be necessary, but the springtails and isopods will help to keep mould at bay. They will also reduce the need for a full cage cleaning.


Juvenile Anacondas will shed their skin every couple of weeks. As the snake grows, shedding will become less frequent as their growth rate slows down, but they will continue to shed for the duration of their lives.

If their humidity levels are correct, these snakes generally don’t have too many problems with shedding. The high humidity in their enclosure and the presence of a large water bowl is usually enough to accomplish a good shed.

Increasing humidity or soaking the snake is generally enough to remove any remaining skin that is left behind after shedding. You could also place a branch or large stone in the enclosure. Snakes will sometimes rub against these objects to loosen the skin when shedding.

Handling a Yellow Anaconda

Like many snakes, it is a good idea to purchase a juvenile so you can build up a ‘relationship’ with the snake as it grows. This can only be achieved through regular handling.

Juveniles can be quite nippy. This is because the snake is defensive and trying to protect itself. It is important to regularly handle the snake at this stage or they will not grow out of it.

Regular gentle handling will usually be enough for the snake to realise that you are not a threat. This will make the snake much more manageable as it reaches adult size. However, there are snakes that will never tame and will remain aggressive for the duration of their lives.

Eunectes Notaeus

This is a large snake that is best left to experienced keepers as they are unpredictable and can strike at any time. It is always a good idea to have someone present when handling a big snake. Even ‘tame’ snakes act on instinct so they still have the potential to strike at any time if they feel threatened.

Yellow Anaconda Breeding

 Female Yellow Anaconda’s release a pheromone which entices the males to breed. In the wild, multiple male Anaconda’s are known to attempt to breed with a single female at the same time. This activity is known as a breeding ball and it is most commonly associated with Garter Snakes.

The cooler winter months kicks off the breeding season where males will follow the scent trails left behind by females. A male Yellow Anaconda can breed with multiple females during the season.

The female will usually give birth between April and May to a litter that can exceed 60 live babies. Once the babies are born, the female leaves them to fend for themselves.