Exceeding 20 feet in length and 300 pounds in weight, this famous South American snake is by far the largest of the boas, and is the heaviest of the world's snakes (the Reticulated python from Asia may grow slightly longer). Anacondas give birth to live young, usually 20 to 40 at a time. With their eyes near the top and end of their heads, they are adapted to an aquatic environment, and most of their prey is taken in or near water. At the DWA, they are fed rats. The largest specimen here is 14 feet long.
Also called the "Yellow-headed Amazon" this Mexican parrot has long been a popular pet, prized for its "talking" and "singing". This led to trappers stealing young birds from nests wherever they could find them. In two decades, the population fell from 700,000, in the mid-1970s, to only 7,000! This decline continues, worsened by habitat destruction. However, this species breeds well in captivity, with many hatched each year. The breeding pair at the DWA have so far reared two broods of chicks in full public view.
Though the Silver and Black arowanas of South America, and the Asian and Australian arowanas resemble each other, and share the behavior of brooding their eggs and fry in their mouths, they last shared a common ancestor around 170 million years ago, when the great Southern Continent Gondwana began to split apart. This took place in the Jurassic period, when dinosaurs still thrived. Although Asian arowanas are endangered, South American ones are abundant, and are important both to subsistence fishing and the sustainable aquarium trade.