‘Man-aconda’ stuns the world, unveiling the astonishing tale of the eye-striking phenomenon. The numerous hidden wonders of the animal realm never cease to astound us.
Nevertheless, certain animals stand out more than others and have the power to rapidly make international news due to their peculiar appearances or uncommon characteristics.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when I stumbled upon an image of this peculiar “penis snake,” I initially dismissed it as a joke.
But to my amazement, it turned out to be a real animal. So, join me as I unravel the story behind the viral image that has left thousands of people stunned.
Throughout time, phallic-shaped artefacts have consistently been able to attract attention and pique interest. A few years ago, a number of pictures that showed a creature that many people couldn’t believe appeared online.
The intriguing and peculiar-looking creature has a striking appearance, earning itself a variety of apt titles, including “penis snake,” “blind snake,” or “man-aconda.”But no, it’s not what you think it is.
Despite its striking resemblance to a snake, the creature is known as Atretochoana eiselti and defies expectations by belonging to a completely different category of animal. It’s actually an amphibian more closely related to the salamander and the largest of the few known lungless tetrapods.
This unusual critter, which can only be seen in the Brazilian Amazon, has long been thought to be extinct. In the late 1800s, Sir Graham Hales and Sir Brian Doll went on an expedition and made the initial discovery. But it wasn’t until 1968 that A. eiselti was first described. Further research and analysis led to its reclassification in 1996, elevating it to the status of its own unique and exclusive genus, Atretochoana.
In the Amazonas, this caecilian species was rediscovered in 2011. The “penis snake” is a unique animal that lives only in the Amazon River and its biggest tributary, the Madeira River in Brazil. No other recorded sightings of this animal have ever been reported outside of this specific region.
The viral pictures that took the internet by storm a couple of years ago date back to 2011, when an entire family of the phallic-shaped creatures was collected at the bottom of the Madeira River in Brazil. They were found when the river was drained while examining a hydroelectric dam.
Julian Tupan, a biologist with the Santo Antonio Energy firm involved in building the dam, claims that nothing is known about the limbless, lungless frogs. “Of the six we collected, one died, three were released back into the wild, and another two were kept for studies,” he told Estadao, according to the U.K.’s The Sun.
Tupan emphasised that the ”snakes” pose no threat and are highly unlikely to exhibit aggressive behaviour.
“Despite looking like snakes, they aren’t reptiles and are more closely related to salamanders and frogs.” We think the animal breathes through its skin and probably feeds on small fish and worms, but there is still nothing proven. “The Amazon is a box of surprises when it comes to reptiles and amphibians. There is still much more to be discovered.”
One of the species discovered in the riverbed was heavily photographed, according to research published in the Brazilian scientific journal Boletim do Museu Paraense Emlio Goeldi: Ciências Naturais. In the Madeira River, some of the creatures were returned to their original habitat, and others were taken to the Emilio Goeldi Paraense Museum in Belem, Brazil.
The most extensively shared image was posted on Julian Tupan’s Instagram page and shows an adult female A. eiselti that is just about 40 inches long. Despite the curiosity that surrounds these fascinating creatures, there is still a lot that is unknown about them, and our understanding of them is still rather limited.
A fascinating aspect of their nutritional preferences is perplexing to researchers.
The animals with phallic shapes are thought to devour small fish, worms, and other aquatic invertebrates, but more thorough investigation is required to corroborate this theory.
Another enigma surrounds their respiratory system, as the method by which they breathe remains unconfirmed. The discovery of the six specimens in 2011 added another layer of complexity to this puzzle. Particularly intriguing was the location of their findings, with limited cold, fast-flowing water. It is known that warmer water contains less oxygen, making their lungless existence even more extraordinary.
Based on these recent findings, it is believed that the species has a wide distribution throughout the Brazilian Amazon and potentially extends into Bolivia as well.
Nature never ceases to amaze us with its boundless wonders and constant surprises. From the depths of the oceans to the highest mountaintops, the natural world is an endless source of fascination and discovery.