Monster anaconda! New giant snake species discovered in Amazon

Deep in the Ecuadorean Amazon, scientists have discovered a record-breakingly large new species of anaconda.

A team led by Professor Bryan Fry from The University of Queensland found the giant snake during a 10-day exploration in the Baihuaeri Waorani Territory, an area known for its sacred significance to the indigenous Waorani people.

Named the Northern Green Anaconda (Eunectes akayima), examples were found to be an impressive 6.3 metres long - close to the largest anacondas ever authentically measured. The scientists believe local tribespeople may even have seen even larger snakes - up to 7.5 metres. Professor Fry found the huge reptile by paddling canoes down river systems, where they encountered several anacondas, including the female measuring 6.3 metres.

"The size of these magnificent creatures was incredible - one female anaconda we encountered measured an astounding 6.3 metres long," Professor Fry said.

The new anaconda species was found while filming with National Geographic for their upcoming Disney+ series Pole to Pole with Will Smith, on which Professor Fry, a National Geographic Explorer, was the expedition's scientific leader. However, he said it could not have taken place without the local Waorani people and their Chief, Penti Baihua - a co-author of the paper.

The intrepid scientist added that Chief Penti's son, Marcelo Tepeña Baihua, who along with his dad was a co-author on the study, has scars on his arm and hand from a snake that they estimate at 7.5 meters and over 500 kilograms. Professor Fry said that the locals' estimates of snake size are so accurate that he believes Marcelo may have fought off one of the world's largest anacondas.

"Considering how accurate they were at guessing the size of snakes before we measured them on the expedition, much more accurate than we were, if they say it was 7.5 meters we believe them," he added. "Plus the scars were clearly from a truly massive snake. They say that one wasn't even the biggest they've ever seen, saying they've seen snakes they reckon were over 8 meters and 800 kilograms. So it's clear that the snakes in the Waorani lands are indeed the biggest of all."

The research paper is published in the journal MDPI Diversity.