Biologist and experienced anaconda handler Jesús Rivas 24>> describes some close calls between his study subjects and a National Geographic Television crew:

  • The last time I tried to catch the animal 14>>, it got my timing and struck right at my face. I saw that giant mouth coming toward me, just four inches (ten centimeters) from my chin, and I jumped backwards and barely got out of reach.

  • Richard [Foster, the producer and cinematographer] was kneeling down, looking into the viewfinder and I thought, Wow! He got it on film. I asked, “Were you rolling?” “No,” he says, “No, I wasn’t rolling.”

  • I reached down to pull the snake 66>> out by its tail, but the head gets loose. Marion [an anaconda] comes towards Richard’s knee.... He happens to get up right in time. You see in the footage, right in the left corner, a blue piece of the sandbag that Marion had bitten instead of Richard’s knee.

  • Again, Richard was looking through the viewfinder and didn’t realize how close he got to getting his ear pierced! ... Later, the same snake bit the reflection cap [a rubber piece] right off the camera lens.

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Photographs by
Ed George