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A Closer Look:
Anaconda Exam at the Animal Health Center

Before the retained spectacle was removed.
Removing the anaconda’s skin.

Every day, our animal care team at the Animal Health Center perform a variety of medical procedures and treatments for the Zoo’s more than 2,100 animals.

We thank our dedicated team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians for ALL they do for the animals!

Before the retained spectacle was removed.
Dr. B. Keith Collins, veterinary ophthalmologist, assisting in removing the build-up of spectacles.

Following are details and photos from a recent procedure on the Zoo’s green anaconda in the Aquatic & Reptile Center, as told by Senior Staff Veterinarian Pamela Govett, DVM, Dipl. ACZM:

Today we anesthetized the green anaconda for dysecdysis (difficulty shedding its skin).

The most common cause for this is low humidity, but this animal is often found submerged in water with just his nostrils above the water.

We drew blood in order to rule out disease. The keepers were also able to give him a "spa day” and assist in removing his old skin, and a veterinary ophthalmologist assisted in removing a build-up of spectacles (snakes do not have eyelids to blink, instead they have caps on top of their eyes to protect them), so that he could see clearly again.

He has now returned to his habitat in the Aquatic & Reptile Center.

Before the retained spectacle was removed.
Before the retained spectacle was removed.
Before the retained spectacle was removed.
After the retained spectacle was removed.

Fast Facts

  • When considering both weight and length, the green anaconda is the largest snake in the world, growing up to 30-feet long and weighing as much as 500 pounds!
  • Anacondas are members of a family of snakes called constrictors. Constrictors are not venomous snakes, which means they don’t kill prey by delivering venom through a bite. Instead, constrictors wrap their bodies around their prey and squeeze until it stops breathing.
  • Green anacondas are found in swamps and rivers of tropical South America.
  • Anacondas are reptiles and carnivorous.