Amy Rees Anderson

What to do if you encounter an Anaconda

The other day someone sent me a survival tip on what to do if you encounter an Anaconda, the largest snake in the world – here is what they sent to me:

The US Peace Corps train their workers to deal with any kind of eventuality they might meet in the field, and since they work in the jungles of South America, it’s quite possible that they might encounter an Anaconda, the largest snake in the world. A full grown Anaconda is not just a snake. It is a telegraph pole with a temper! It takes 10 men to carry one — if it is in a good mood. Here are the instructions in one of the Peace Corps’s manuals, posted on the Internet:
1: If you are attacked by an Anaconda, do not run. The snake is faster than you are. Don’t try to outrun it.
2: Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides and your legs tight against one another.
3: Tuck in your chin.
4: The snake will come and begin to nudge and will climb about your body.
5: Do not panic.
6: After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet, always the feet. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic.
7: The snake will begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.
8: When the snake has reached your knees, slowly and with as little movement as possible reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake’s mouth, between the edge of its mouth and your leg. Then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake through the top of the head.
9: Be sure you have your knife.
10: Be sure your knife is sharp.

Of course, if you get to number nine, or even ten, and find you’ve forgotten your knife, or that it’s blunt, the rest doesn’t really matter!

After I read it I had to go online to see if there was any truth at all to this being an actual instruction from the Peace Corp because I frankly didn’t believe it was real, and sure enough it wasn’t. However, in looking it up I found that there was actual advise out there on what to do when you encounter this snake and it said to run away…and then avoid it! Now that seems like much better advise to me… Because life is full of “anacondas” of different types – temptations of every kind – so when you come upon one of these “snakes” don’t just lie down and wait to be eaten, hoping you have a knife that’s going to be sharp enough to save you…RUN! And do everything in your power to avoid the snakes!!!

Have a great day everyone!

~Amy Rees Anderson


  • Don Walker says:

    I thought the instructions were for real. Glad I read the rest of the article. They are all around us for sure.

  • lydia bielenberg says:

    I thought that the information was real and didn’t get to reading the end until after I wrote down all of it

  • Vickijolene Reece says:

    Hi Amy!
    I am a United Methodist pastor and have been using this story in messages for 30 years….pre-internet! This is the closest version I have ever seen. You have published the original version! Which I heard in 1982. (I hate aging myself!)

    I’ve never worried about the truth as far as details. What I love is the TRUTH within this story. We need to think of it as a parable…that one must prepare, and carry herself with dignity and skills. She is ready…already. She is careful to be sharp and to make sure she has all she holds is sharpened. She holds it all in her pocket and is patient until the crucial moment.

    Thank you Amy for giving us the best version of the parable. May you always keep your knife sharp….and available!

  • Anonymous says:

    For a minute I actually thought that was real happy I read the rest I like anacondas so I wanted to know what to do when u encounter one I thought I would run and obviously I was right hope I’m on land when it happens

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