By Alex Jones
ASTONISHING footage shows a daredevil photographer getting up close and personal with the World’s biggest snake – and he even managed to snap a selfie with the legendary creature.
An incredible video shows a huge green anaconda, measuring around 20 foot in length and with considerable girth, flirting with the camera; a striking shot shows the gargantuan reptile flicker its tongue; and another shows the fearless photographer Jorge Cervera Hauser (35) grabbing a quick selfie with his new slithery sidekick.
Hauser, who started the adventure travel company Pelagic Fleet in Baja, Mexico, spent 40 extraordinary minutes with the green anaconda on a breath-taking visit to Brazil – where he also came face to face with a caiman crocodile.
Hauser, who also swims with great white sharks regularly and has been featured by many of the world’s leading nature magazines, somehow managed to keep his cool when he made his scaly encounter with the anaconda in the Formoso River, despite being perfectly aware that the species was considered the largest snake in the world, weighing in at up to 40 stone.
“The green anaconda I photographed, which is the largest anaconda species in the world, was around six metres long,” said Hauser, who grew up in Mexico City and uses the Instagram handle @jchauser.
“I was not scared since I am used to hanging around with large predators underwater. Actually, she was very shy and trying to avoid us most of the time, which came as a bit of a disappointment. What I enjoy the most about photographing wildlife up close is the natural curiosity animals develop towards you, and the interaction that comes as a result – but it wasn’t easy to get this big girl’s attention.
“I have been diving with sharks and other large predators for over 10 years now. I feel really comfortable and I have learned over the years how to read them and how to behave around them. Robert Capa said it best when he stated, ‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough’.”
The heart-stopping footage, filmed by Carlos Cornejo on a GoPro, proves Hauser could get no closer to the huge snake, as it checked itself out in the photographer’s reflective camera casing.
According to National Geographic, green anacondas are, pound for pound, the largest snake in the world. Its cousin, the reticulated python, can reach slightly greater lengths, but the enormous girth of the anaconda makes it almost twice as heavy. Coming in at around 20 foot, the green anaconda that Hauser spotted was actually comparatively tiny, with the largest in the species reaching lengths of approximately 30 feet – longer than a London bus.
The snakes are non-venomous and inside rely on their extremely powerful bodies to constrict their prey to the point of asphyxiation. They typically subside on wild pigs, deer, birds, turtles, capybara, caimans, and even jaguars.
The 35-year-old had to wait for days before he came across the epic snake.
“Ever since I learned about a clear river in Brazil where you could find green anacondas, it was high up on my bucket list,” Hauser admitted.
“One day, I got the call that an expedition was heading down and I jumped at the opportunity. Our base was the town of Bonito, out of where we would depart each morning to the Formoso River and look for the mythical snake. By the third day, we have had a quick encounter with a large anaconda, the surprise spotting of a large caiman resting in the bottom of the lake, and a solid 40-minute encounter with the six-metre long anaconda.
“The caiman was fascinating. This guy was stealthily lying and blending in with the riverbank, which made him hard to spot. I dove in to have a closer look, and even thought he was dead… That’s when I went in for an even closer look and he opened his eye and moved it to look straight at me.
“The hardest aspect of these trips is always finding the animals in the first place, and for that you need the right local people that know the area and understand wildlife behaviour. In this case, hats off to Daniel de Granvile and Yuca, our captain.”
Hauser hopes that his images will help people think twice about the effect their actions have on the planet – and to perhaps reconsider their attitude towards ‘dangerous’ animals.
“I love being out there in wild places having intimate contact with nature,” he continued.
“A lot of the animals I photograph are in danger, we need to understand they are vital for our planet’s balance, and that they are much more interesting and less dangerous than we think. If we learn and understand, we will then want to protect them.
“When I take someone new to do this kind of stuff there is always a lot of anxiety going on beforehand, but once the see what these animals are in reality, their whole perception changes in a matter of seconds.”
For more of Jorge Cervera Hauser’s work, please visit fishsaycheese.com