Alligator vs Anaconda: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Strongest animal bite – American alligator
© RICIfoto/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: March 3, 2023

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Reptiles are unique creatures that come in many shapes and sizes. Their distinctive qualities and habit of attacking first and asking questions later make fights between reptiles interesting. We’ve already seen what happens in a crocodile vs anaconda fight, but what would happen if a massive snake fought something closer to its size? Today, we’re going to use available data to imagine an alligator vs anaconda match. After all, anacondas could already be skulking around the Florida Everglades.  

Let’s take a close look at each animal and determine which of them is most likely to survive this bout!

Comparing an Alligator and an Anaconda

Alligators are faster than anacondas.
AlligatorAnaconda
SizeWeight: 400lbs to 800lbs (sometimes more)
Height: 1ft – 2ft off the ground
Length: 8.2 feet to 11.2 feet long
Weight: 250lbs -550lbs
Length: 17-22 feet
Diameter: 12 inches
Speed– 30 mph over short distances on land
– 2-9 mph on average
– Locomotion includes swimming and scampering on the ground
– 5 mph on land
– 10 mph in the water  
Defenses– Camouflage
– Thick skin
– Limited snake venom resistance
– Speed
– Hissing threat display
– Their eyes are near the top of their head and allow them to swim with most of their body underwater
– Large size
– Camouflage
Offensive Capabilities2,980 PSI bite power
– Roughly 80 teeth
– Teeth roughly 2” in length – Death roll can instantly amputate
– Repeated chomping can puncture organs while holding prey in place
– Powerful bite for grasping
– Immensely powerful constriction that kills by stopping the prey’s heart while causing internal damage.
Predatory Behavior– Ambushes prey by keeping only their eyes and nostrils above water and hiding below
– Typically attacks by ambushing from the water
– Clamps onto enemies and use a death roll
– Ambushes prey in and out of water
– Bites and holds prey while coiling around them and constricting.

What Are Key Differences Between an Alligator and an Anaconda?

Green Anaconda Underwater

Anacondas are deadly hunters that hide below the water.

©Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock.com

The most significant differences between alligators and anacondas are their morphology and method of attack. Alligators are best-imagined as large lizard-like reptiles with huge mouths, U-shape snouts, scaly skin, and long tails that bite and thrash their prey to death. Anacondas are very long, thickly built snakes measuring up to 12 inches in diameter that wrap their bodies around their prey to constrict them to death by overwhelming their circulatory and respiratory systems and causing physical trauma.

These two reptiles look and behave very differently from one another. We need a lot more information than initial differences to figure out which one is victory bound.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between an Alligator and an Anaconda?

Deadliest Animals in America

Alligators frequently take large prey, including deer and humans, once in a while.

©iStock.com/unclegene

The most important key factors that matter in a fight between an alligator and an anaconda include aspects like size, offensive power, and the defenses that keep the animal safe. We’ll look at those three elements along with two others, establish which creature has the advantage in each situation, and use that data to inform our final decision about the fight’s winner.

Alligator vs Anaconda: Size

Alligators are larger than anacondas on average. At least, they are heavier than anacondas. Alligators weigh between 400lbs and 800lbs, stand just 1-2ft from the ground, and measure 15ft long. The largest alligators ever recorded weighed over 1,000lbs and measured over 13ft long!

Anacondas vary quite a bit depending on species, but green anacondas can weigh up to 550lbs, measure 22ft, and have a diameter of 12 inches! Yet, the largest anaconda may have measured 33ft long, 3ft across, and weighed 880lbs! Of course, this measurement was not confirmed, but these are reclusive snakes.

Overall, alligators are larger than anacondas on average and at their optimal sizes.

Alligator vs Anaconda: Speed and Movement

Alligators are faster than anacondas. Alligators can run on land at speeds of 30 mph over very short distances, and they average 2-9 mph when moving on land overall. In the water, alligators can move at speeds of about 20 mph, propelling themselves with their long tails. Again, that is not a speed they can keep up for very long, though.

Anacondas are much slower, moving at about 5 mph on land and 10 mph in the water.

Alligators have the speed advantage in this fight.

Alligator vs Anaconda: Defenses

Anacondas rely on hiding from other animals to keep them safe. Since their eyes are located toward the top of their head, they will often skim near the surface of the water, keeping an eye on potential threats and prey. Their dark skin color also helps keep them camouflaged in the water.

Alligators have thick skin, some snake venom resistance, large size, speed, and a scary threat display to keep them safe. In most cases, a fully grown adult alligator has very little to worry about. They’re often apex predators in their range.

Alligators have better defenses than an anaconda.  

Alligator vs Anaconda: Offensive Capabilities

Anacondas are incredible predators that rely on their ability to constrict their prey to death. Their attacking method typically sees them launch forth, bite their prey, and then wrap their bodies around them. They begin squeezing the prey, overwhelming their circulatory system, rendering them unconscious and killing them in short order while preventing any counterattack.

Alligators are far more straightforward with their attacks. They burst forth from the water, grab their prey, whip it back and forth, drag it into the water, or they will initiate a death roll. This combination of assault leaves prey disoriented and sometimes bereft of a limb.

We’re going to call the offensive capabilities of each creature a tie.

Alligator vs Anaconda: Predatory Behavior

Alligators are ambush predators most of the time, but they can also be opportunistic predators. They are often seen quickly emerging from the water to grab their prey and kill them before descending into the deep once again.

Anacondas are also ambush predators that rely on surprise to attack their prey. They can kill small animals and large animals with relative ease as long as they land that first attack.

Both animals have deadly ambush tendencies, so this section is a tie as well.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between an Alligator and an Anaconda?

alligator looking at camera with mouth open

Alligators aren’t the deadliest animal in the world, but they’re tough enough to eat an anaconda.

©iStock.com/tobiasfrei

An alligator would win a fight against an anaconda. Although anacondas are large, effective ambush predators, they would have to perform an incredible ambush at the alligator’s head to disable it to such an extent that it could not fight back and kill it.

Alligators are heavier, have a monstrous bite, and can quickly overwhelm an anaconda’s defenses to penetrate the skull and other organs.

If these two were forced to fight, the alligator would grab some portion of the anaconda and thrash it around, driving its teeth into the snake and eventually killing it. All the anaconda can do is try to bite and coil around the alligator, but it does so at its own peril.

Alligators are far faster, more aggressive, and more agile. They could escape from the initial ambush and quickly turn the tables on their foe.

In the rare cases where snakes have killed alligators, they’re rarely fully grown. If both an adult alligator and an adult anaconda fought, we have to go with the raw power, speed, and defenses of the alligator.

 Who Could Beat the Mighty Alligator?

Alligators are powerful and resilient animals, and it’s hard to think of any other animal that could actually beat one in a fight. However, some species have been known to come out on top when pitted against an alligator. One such example is the American Crocodile, which has been known to battle with alligators over territory or food sources and occasionally wins. Even more impressive are the large cats like tigers, lions, leopards, etc., which can overpower even very large gators if they catch them by surprise. Bears might also be able to defeat an alligator due to their size advantage. Ultimately though, most creatures would not stand a chance against an Alligator in a direct confrontation – so watch your step around these guys!


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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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