What monster did scientists discover in the Amazon forest during filming for a National Geographic series

Scientists have discovered a new species of giant anaconda in the Amazon, which they say is the largest and heaviest snake ever known in the world.

The new species of green anaconda can reach amazing sizes PHOTO Wikipedia

A specimen of this species can reach up to 7.5 meters and weigh almost 500 kilograms, reports The Independent.

Until now, four species of anaconda were known, the largest being the green anaconda, which lives in the tropical parts of South America, as well as in the basins of the Amazon, Orinoco and Essequibo rivers, but also in some smaller basins.

These snakes are known for their lightning speed and ability to kill their prey by coiling around it, suffocating it and swallowing it whole.

A recently published study spanning several decades found that the green anaconda is genetically part of two different species.

Researchers working with the indigenous Waorani population captured and studied several specimens of the new species of northern green anaconda (Eunectes akaima) in the Bameno region of Waorani territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

The species was discovered while filming National Geographic's Disney+ series Pole to Pole, starring Will Smith.

Scientists have documented several anacondas belonging to the new species “in shallow waters, waiting for prey” while canoeing the Amazon river system.

The biggest snake in the world

The size of these magnificent creatures is incredible – one female anaconda I encountered measured 6.3 meters,” said study co-author Bryan Fry of the University of Queensland. “There are reports from the Waorani people of other anacondas in the area measuring more than 7.5 meters long and weighing around 500 kilograms,” Dr. Fry added.

The new species, described in the journal Diversity, split from the southern green anaconda about 10 million years ago, differing genetically from it by 5.5 percent.

By comparison, humans differ from chimpanzees by about 2%.

The discovery, the researchers say, is crucial to the conservation of anacondas, which are top predators and vital to maintaining balance in their ecosystems.

A healthy anaconda population means living ecosystems with sufficient food resources and clean water, while low numbers of snakes may indicate a state of environmental degradation, scientists say.

Anacondas and their habitat are increasingly threatened by land fragmentation caused by industrialized agriculture, forest fires, drought, climate change, and heavy metal pollution from oil spills.