Encountering an enormous anaconda underwater might sound like the most terrifying thing imaginable. So the news that someone spent days seeking out such an encounter might blow your mind.
But that’s exactly what Brazilian TV star Karina Oliani recently did for her upcoming new series Wild Ocean. Oliani, who has also been a professional diver since 2002, says it had always been a dream of hers to see one of the elusive snakes underwater, and after several days of diving in Bonito, Brazil, she finally spotted an enormous female.
It might not surprise you to learn though, that much like other large predators, anacondas have a bit of an unfair reputation (thanks to films like Anaconda). Though they are certainly skilled hunters, green anacondas (the species most of us mean when we say “anaconda”) aren’t actually man-eating monsters.
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“Green anacondas have a scary reputation, but there is little reason for most people to fear them,” wildlife ecologist David Steen told Azula. “Although there are a couple incidences of green anacondas striking or biting people in a manner consistent with predatory behavior, there is not a single documented human death from a green anaconda.”
Oliani seemed to learn this with her experience, as well, as she told reporters, “We were definitely not on her menu, but it is a wild predator and you should not approach it in a way that makes it feel threatened.”
David Steen also explained to Azula, “If someone were to encounter an anaconda in the wild, they should treat it as they would treat any large and potentially dangerous animal: observe and respect it from a safe distance.”