Giant 23-Foot-Long Anaconda Startles Tourists Swimming in River

A giant anaconda, measuring around 23 feet in length, startled two divers after it was spotted slithering through long grass on a river bank within arms reach of the men.

Video shows the lengthy snake writhing through the undergrowth along the Formoso river in Bonito, in the central-southern Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, bordering Paraguay and Bolivia.

One of the divers, Daniel Alexandre Rodrigues, who was with a friend and tour guide, said the animal was about seven meters long (23 feet).

Video of the incident shows one of the men coming face to face with the snake.

Rodrigues, who is from Rio de Janeiro, told Brazilian newspaper G1 the encounter was terrifying and "like something from the movie The Anaconda."

But he added that it was an impressive animal and that he and his friend were "very lucky to witness this spectacle of nature up close."

Rodrigues filmed his interaction with the snake earlier in June but only published the video on social media on Thursday.

The region is known for being home to anacondas, and river divers often travel there hoping to see and film the animals.

Biologist Daniel De Granville, who works with some of those making the journey to see the region's vast array of wildlife, told G1: "I make it very clear to photographers that they should not get too close to the anacondas, let alone touch them. If the animal feels uncomfortable, the expedition ends at that moment."

anaconda lies half submerged in water
An anaconda lies half submerged in water in its enclosure on June 3, 2021, at the zoo in Staten Island, New York. The anaconda spotted by divers in Brazil was wild and measuring around 23 feet. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

In 2020, snake hunters captured a massive Burmese python in Florida thought to be the largest specimen of the invasive species ever caught in the state.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said the snake measured 18 feet and 9 inches in length—a record for the Sunshine State.

The previous largest Burmese python caught in Florida was slightly smaller, measuring 18 feet and 8 inches. This snake was captured in 2013.

Burmese pythons—native to Southeast Asia—are an invasive species in Florida, where they became established in the south of the state around 20 years ago. It is thought they gained a foothold after pythons being kept as exotic pets were released or escaped.

In 2014, an Australian woman who woke up to find a snake trying to eat her had to reach inside the animal's jaw to tear its teeth from her buttock to escape the attack.

The snake, a 12-foot long scrub python (Simalia amethistina) weighing 10 pounds, had made its way to the woman's house from nearby woodland.