Meet New England Aquarium's Biggest Snakes

On exhibit we have two adult female anacondas. Our two large females are over 15 feet long.

Ashley and Kathleen, our two largest anacondas (named for two long time volunteers in the freshwater gallery) are about the same age, approximately 15 years old. Aside from age and length they are as different as night and day.

Ashley. Notice the orange on the side of her face. Kathleen's stripe is completely olive green.

Ashley is definitely queen of the exhibit. Anacondas are mostly solitary in the wild, except when they come together to mate. In close quarters they show minor displays of strength to arrange a pecking order. Ashley usually eats first on feeding day and will nudge Kathleen out of her way.

Kathleen on the front "haul-out" spot.

Kathleen is a less high strung snake. She is heavier in build than Ashley and likes to curl up in the back planter anytime she can. She is also more likely to come out of the water at the front of the exhibit. She is much shyer, and she interacts with me much less than Ashley when I am in the exhibit.

When I am talking to people in front of the exhibit, I am often asked how I can tell the snakes apart. Ashley has golden orange stripes above the black stripes on her face. Kathleen's stripes are a pale olive green. Also, Kathleen is much thicker down the length of her body and has a very stubby tail. Ashley has a more slender body type.

Can you tell them apart next time you visit?

- Marion Britt, Freshwater Intern

If you have any questions you'd like to see answered on the Anaconda Blog, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

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