Sunday, December 18, 2011
Anaconda Feeding & Butterflies
Today at the Academy of Science, Jie Jie and I exited the Rain Forest Dome downstairs, as usual, and right in front of us was a large anaconda in it's habitat, tightly coiled into a huge ball underwater. The docent informed us that it has been coiled around a rabbit for over an hour. The rabbit had been given to the snake dead, but heated in a microwave, before being given to the snake.
All I could see where two furry black feet sticking out of the ball that was the snake. Then, the snake's head came around and went into the middle of the ball. I could see the jaws unhinge and open then the snake began to swallow the rabbit, headfirst.
As gross as this may seem as you read it, I was amazed at how this snake fed. It was truly one of nature's miracles! We always read that the anaconda wraps around the prey, suffocating it, then swallows it whole, but there is so much more to that.
After the snake managed to swallow the rabbit, it passed through its own coils, tightening just enough so that the rabbit was pushed down toward the stomach, like squeezing the toothpaste toward the top of the tube.
The snake stayed underwater for an hour and a half, only coming up for air after the meal was fully swallowed and well on the way to the stomach.
I thought that the anaconda would also crush the prey's bones, to make it easier to swallow, but after some research online, this doesn't seem to be the case. I saw several videos of anacondas vomiting up prey that turned out to be way to big for them to digest.
It was quite a science lesson!
They also had some fake snow makers and a mini-planeterium show on how snow forms. In the Rainforest Dome, several butterflies were injured and on the floor. We tried to help this one by moving it to the foliage.