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“As thick as a car tire”: New giant snake discovered – Dutchman dives next to animal

2024-02-21T04:21:03.503Z

Highlights: “As thick as a car tire’: New giant snake discovered – Dutchman dives next to animal.. As of: February 21, 2024, 5:11 a.m By: Marcus Giebel CommentsPressSplit Many new animal species are discovered every day. But a previously unknown giant snake is a small miracle. An expert is over the moon. Freek Vonk has discovered a new species of snake. Vonk also revealed that he let a snake choke him as a test in 2014. “It felt like a bus was squeezing my throat,” he remembers.



As of: February 21, 2024, 5:11 a.m

By: Marcus Giebel

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Many new animal species are discovered every day.

But a previously unknown giant snake is a small miracle.

An expert is over the moon.

Rotterdam – A few seconds passed before Freek Vonk had viewed his discovery in all its glory.

From back to front, from tail to head.

The Dutch biologist now knows who he was dealing with in the murky water deep in the rainforest.

On the bottom, a northern green anaconda moved forward calmly and was not frightened by the small biped by its standards.

Expert discovers giant snake: “It’s something very special”

Vonk's heart, on the other hand, must have beaten significantly faster - but not because of panic, but because of excitement.

“This is something very special,” reveals the 40-year-old in the

Algemeen Dagblad

: “I had previously discovered a new species in Australia, but it was a poisonous snake the size of my little finger.”

Diver and snake underwater: Freek Vonk has discovered a new species of snake.

© xJamxPressxVid/StudioxFreek,xAmsterdam/Imago

A team of 15 scientists from nine countries now came across the giant snake, which is said to weigh up to 200 kilograms.

A total of 78 DNA samples were taken from different specimens before the experts were sure: There is not just one anaconda, but two.

In addition to the previously known Southern Green Anaconda, there is also the Northern Green Anaconda.

Northern Green Anacondas Discovered: 'It's Like We Found Out There Are Two Types of Great White Sharks'

The two cannot really be confused, as they differ by 5.5 percent.

It doesn't sound like much, but Vonk uses this comparison: humans and chimpanzees only differ genetically by two percent.

“It feels like we have discovered that there are two types of great white sharks that swim through the ocean,” exults the professor at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, who is extremely popular in the Netherlands.

Vonk explains that the newly discovered species was unknown for so long because of its preferred habitat.

The giant snakes are particularly at home in murky river and swamp water: “I have a video of myself swimming next to one of the largest I have ever seen.

Almost eight meters long, as thick as a car tire and a head as big as my head.

But if it moves two meters further, you can hardly see it anymore.”

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Expert was strangled by an anaconda years ago: “As if a bus was squeezing his throat”

Vonk actually has a long history associated with the Northern Green Anaconda - because, as he only realized after the new discovery was published, he had let a specimen get dangerously close to him a few years ago.

More precisely: his neck.

In the interview he also revealed that he let a snake choke him as a test in 2014.

Sounds completely crazy - and it was.

“That wasn't one of my better ideas.

“It felt like a bus was squeezing my throat,” he remembers.

Of course, Vonk advises against imitating such an experiment, but in his case there were enough people on hand to get him out of the predicament: “I was really sure, I just wanted to feel their power.”

After he described this choking attempt, he was contacted by many fans and watched the video again - and now published it.

It became clear to him that it must have been a specimen of the Northern Green Anaconda, albeit a much smaller one, which has only now been officially discovered.

Northern green anaconda lives in the Amazon region: “An extinction would have enormous consequences for nature”

The species, given the Latin name Eunectes akayima, is native to the Amazon region, i.e. northern South America, including Venezuela, Suriname and French Guiana.

“This research underlines how careful we have to be with our largest tropical rainforest in the world,” says Vonk: “If such an animal were to become extinct, it would have enormous consequences for nature.”

According to Dirk Embert, South America representative at WWF Germany, the anaconda was already considered the largest snake in the world before Vonk's team's coup.

It can be up to nine meters long and weigh up to 250 kilograms.

There are around 3,000 species of snakes known worldwide, around 600 of which are poisonous.

On the other hand, anacondas, like pythons, are non-venomous giant snakes; like some snakes, they kill their prey by entwining them and strangling them.

This happens differently than was thought for a long time, as Vonk explains with reference to new studies.

According to this, constrictor snakes weaken the victims' circulation and thus rob them of consciousness: "We used to think that they prevented their prey from breathing, but that's different."

Many animal species are still undiscovered: around 1.38 million of an estimated eleven million have been recorded

Even if huge animals like the northern green anaconda are the exception, in some years an average of 50 new animal species are discovered every day.

In May 2023, scientists wrote headlines that they had discovered 380 animal and plant species in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia alone within two years.

According to the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, around 1.38 million animal species have been scientifically recorded worldwide, but it is estimated that there are up to eleven million.

Many invertebrates in particular are only known regionally.

With around 48,000 animal species, Germany is considered to be poor in species.

Researchers want to track down the world's most elusive shark.

A man catches an aggressive giant snake and captures the fight on video.

Researchers discover what is probably the largest shark in the world at seven meters.

A student examines dinosaur fossils and discovers a new species.

(mg)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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