In an article, Yes, Forcing an Anaconda to Eat a Human on TV Is a Bad Idea, the "world’s foremost expert on anacondas", Jesús Rivas claims:

"The concern is that all that these shows do is to paint the snakes as the bad guys," he added. "While anacondas might be able to eat a person, this has not been confirmed as a reality, to my knowledge (basically because snake and humans overlap very little). "

Are there no verified cases of humans being eaten by an anaconda?

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    photographic evidence? casatrudel.com/anaconda.htm
    – Jodrell
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 17:31
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    @Jodrell Thanks, interesting pictures but it doesn't seem to be an anaconda: "The snake photos you posted don't match the story you've heard about them. The snake pictured is most definitely not an Anaconda. It is a Reticulated Python (Python Reticulatus) which only occurs in South-East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia). " Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 17:39
  • just checking in, @jodrell the site is still up and still with that slightly (ahem) retro flavour from the internet of the 90s. Geocities, only without the ads :D
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


As of 1999, there were two documented attacks by green anacondas (Eunectes murinus) on humans. Neither human was eaten, see Predatory attacks of green anacondas (Eunectes murinus) on adult human beings, Herptological Natural History. 6(2): 158-160:

In my experience catching anacondas of all sizes, I have found that large individuals are very unlikely to attack when disturbed. Indeed, to the present I have caught and processed more than 120 animals larger than 4 meters and none tried to bite until I (or one of my helpers) had either, dragged the animal out of the water by its tail, or secured a firm grip on the animal’s neck (Rivas 1999). Large individuals tended to swim away when disturbed. Recaptured animals are, if anything, even more skittish than naive ones and try to escape as soon as they detect the proximity of the researchers.

Note the concluding sentence though,

Although anacondas are not "man-eaters" by nature, they are generalists and will take any prey that they can subdue and swallow. Thus, the potential exists for anacondas to prey on people.

Another credible source explains why human consumption by anaconda is unlikely and remains undocumented as of 2012 see section six, Did they ever try and eat you?

Pythons and especially reticulated pythons are a different matter; a 10 year-old was swallowed in 2002 in South Africa, and in the 1970’s a Portugese soldier was found inside the stomach of a python.

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    +1 though this is a bit circular. The article you cite was written by the same author cited by the OP. We already know he claims that no such attacks are documented so this is not really providing more information.
    – terdon
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 15:48
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    It's not only a bit circular. Confirming a claim with an article written by the same person making the claim is rather pointless. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 18:34
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo There were two separate articles. OP references Animal Behaviour. 62(3): F1-F6. I reference Herptological Natural History. 6(2): 158-160. Also the woman who retired as wildlife biologist for Discovery Channel confirmed it, my 2nd cite. Finally, the question asked for "Are there no verified cases of humans being eaten by an anaconda?" It is more difficult to prove "no verified cases" versus any. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 18:38
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    If that one guys is the only one talking about it, then that's strong evidence for a lack of documented cases.
    – Jason
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 20:53
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    @EllieKesselman yes but both articles were written by the same author so the point is moot. Your second reference is indeed better since it reiterates the claim of no verified cases. It does, however, report a pretty good attempt though the snake was probably too small to eat the camera man whole.
    – terdon
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 15:44

Snakes need to categorize their prey visually into "swallowable" / "not swallowable". This is reasonably because if they have started to swallow there is generally no way back because of the preys anatomy (Horns, Legs ..) and their jaws.

Since big snakes won't stalk and round their prey before attack they need to use first vision to do the above mentioned characterization. The vision of a standing human will be confusing and most likely distracting because the frontal view of an upright person of 1.8m would suggest a much bigger body in any other species that would be "un-swallowable" by the snake.

People that are attacked by big snakes with non-defensive intention were most likely not standing or walking upright. This fits well with the reporting of (little) children beeing caught and reports on hunting communities in south asia were more man than woman had been attacked by reticulated pythons ( http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2012/01/30/people-as-python-prey-giant-snakes-attack-150-kill-6-in-philippines/#.VGMOtFaEW2x )

To lastly answer your question:

There have been reports on pythons and anacondas killing humans (most likely children) but they are rare and suggesting that humans aren't an usual prey of snakes. The rational above might clarify why this is the case.


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