For Bartolomeo Bove, a professional shark diver and underwater videographer, traveling halfway around the world to swim with the largest living snakes comes with the territory.
The green anaconda is the largest living snake in case you were not sure and they love to reside in marshes, swamps and murky streams in South America.
And the Formoso River in Brazil is the only place in the world where people can dive with anacondas.
Bove and his diving partner, Juca Ygarape, discovered one hanging out in the water — a female that was precisely 23 feet long and weighed almost 200 pounds.
The huge snake was both playful as well as uninterested in the men who swam nearby. She then decided to inspect their camera and then swam away into the river.
Bove’s experience with the anaconda reveals a side we don’t normally see from the fearsome snake:
“The anaconda swims calm and peaceful, completely indifferent to our presence,” Bove shared with The Dodo. “Sometimes she comes closer, curious about my camera, licking the lens.”
“The behavior of the anaconda debunks the myth that it is an aggressive and violent creature that can endanger people’s lives,” Bove continued.
And while Bove’s dive was a sweet one, anacondas should be treated with care. The green anaconda then reaches its massive size on a diet of local wildlife like capybaras, wild pigs, birds, turtles and sometimes jaguars.
The anaconda will then wrap her massive body around an animal, both squeezing and drownign her prey prior to swallowing the animal whole.
“It is without a doubt an extremely strong predator and the largest of all snakes that can react if threatened or molested,” Bove said. “[She is] to be treated with a lot of respect.”
Bove is hoping his work will give the reptile to shine.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Bove said. “No words can do justice to the sensations that I was really feeling during that experience.”