Giant snakes have always fascinated.
Between the real monsters of Hollywood cinema (Conan the Barbarian, Harry Potter, ...), those of mythology, and the faked images circulating on the net, you may ask yourself "but what is really the biggest snake in the world?". 🤔
In this exhaustive article we propose to discover which is the biggest snake in the world by evoking the three biggest snake species that our Earth has ever carried.
These reptiles really existed, or still exist today.
The prehistoric monster presented last is absolutely titanic. It is the largest snake of all time and you will see that it has nothing to envy to the monsters in science fiction movies.
1) THE GREEN ANACONDA
THE LARGEST SNAKE IN THE WORLD
Native to the rivers and wetlands of South America, the Green Anaconda (Eunectes Murinus) is also known as the Giant Anaconda. It is a constrictor snake of the boas family.
The Giant Anacondas deserve their place here because they are the heaviest snakes in the world today. According to herpetologists, some females (much larger than the males) can reach a length of 9 meters and weigh more than 200 kilograms for the largest specimens. The latter can then reach a ventral circumference of almost one meter! 😨
THE ANACONDA: A BIG AQUATIC SNAKE
They are mainly aquatic rather than terrestrial snakes. Their enormous weight makes them rather wobbly on land. But they are incredibly stealthy in the water, remaining motionless until their prey comes within range.
Wild anacondas spend most of their time in rivers in search of food. They are solitary creatures that are somewhat shy, and they are not easy to spot. 🔍
It is the ability of the anaconda to remain partially hidden in the water that makes it difficult to find (and accurately document) a specimen that exceeds the current world record. Indeed, it is difficult to estimate the length of a specimen seen swimming.
THE FEARSOME GIANT SNAKE OF AMAZONIA
Like the boas constrictor 🐍, giant anacondas generally do not bite, even though they have powerful jaws. They have no neurotoxic venom and no hooks. They are carnivorous and kill their prey by smothering or drowning them. The teeth of anacondas are then used to cling to their prey to prevent them from escaping.
They wrap their large, powerful bodies around their victims by compressing them between their rings until they suffocate or are crushed. After this deadly embrace 💀, the snake "unhooks" its jaw and swallows its entire victim. The digestion of a prey varies according to its size and can take from a few hours to a few days.
Anacondas are much more likely to eat aquatic creatures, such as fish. They have been known to occasionally eat caimans (a relative of the alligator 🐊), other snakes, deer, and even jaguars.
Anacondas are rather slow snakes, so they must rely on stealth and the element of surprise to catch unsuspecting prey.
The dangerousness of anacondas to humans is real given their size. But we are far from the killer snake. It is possible to be bitten by an anaconda, but the bite itself would not be fatal.
GIANT SNAKE OF BRAZIL... WATCH OUT FOR FAKE NEWS !
According to some historical reports, the first European explorers of the South American jungle would have seen giant anacondas measuring up to 30 meters long 😰. Some of the local indigenous people have reported seeing anacondas measuring up to 15 meters.
But no one has ever captured and measured an anaconda of this size.
Note that when the skin of a dead anaconda is spread out, it can be stretched very easily. It can stretch to much greater lengths than the snake itself when it was alive.
Reports of large anacondas that cannot be verified are usually due to distorted perceptions, disproportionately stretched snake skin, or mismeasurement.
People are generally very poor at estimating length ❌, especially for large snakes. In fact it appears that the larger the snake, the greater the margin of error.
For example in 2016 in Brazil near the Belo Monte factory, a video and several photos report that it was found on a construction site an anaconda with titanic measurements: ten meters and 400kg 🥇. The photo of this monster caught by an excavator was viral. But it was later proved that it was all a hoax.
2) THE CROSS-LINKED PYTHON
THE LARGEST SNAKE IN THE LIVING WORLD
The Cross-linked Python (often confused with the Burmese Python or the Royal Python) is the longest snake in existence today. This snake (scientific name: Malayopython Reticulatus) is of the Pythonidae family. The largest snake in the world can reach the record size of 10 meters and weigh 140kg. These are the dimensions of a female found in Celebes, an island in northern Indonesia 🗺️.
Living in Southeast Asia, this snake can be found in tropical forests, grasslands and edges. Specimens have also been seen off the coast, this ophidian being an excellent swimmer. A hell of a sea snake!
The reticulated python is a hunter that sneaks into trees or swamp water to surprise its prey. Then it suffocates them and kills them by constriction. It feeds mainly on medium-sized mammals, rodents, large lizards and birds 🐦. Its prey is usually a quarter of its size but weighs more than it does.
MEDUSA: THE LARGEST SNAKE IN THE WORLD CAPTURED AND IN CAPTIVITY
Medusa is the name of a 7 year old female. She is 7.67 meters long and weighs 181.4 kilos. She was born and spent her life in captivity, bred and cared for by Larry Edgar, a snake handler. She entered the Guinness World Records, the Guinness Book of Records, at the end of October 2011 as the longest snake ever held in captivity 🏆.
This exotic snake is owned by Full Moon Productions, and lives in the Edge of Hell haunted house in Kansas City. It is one of the top attractions there because this haunted house (one of the scariest in the world 😱) focuses on various phobias. What better than a huge snake to make visitors shiver?
Just like the snakes in the zoos, Medusa's main diet consists of a combination of rabbits, pigs, rats and deer, which are served every two weeks.
THE LARGEST SNAKE IN THE WORLD: A MAN-EATER ?
It is not uncommon for Asian reticulated pythons to approach forest edge areas to find food or to flee the disappearance of their habitat 🌳. Their diet may then include dogs, cats and chickens.
However, attacks on humans remain extremely rare because pythons are not aggressive towards humans. Very often it is fear that pushes humans to attack such a snake when they cross it, in order to kill it or to keep it away ⚔️. This is how tragedies can occur.
Two attacks have made a lot of noise in recent years:
- In 2017 the body of a villager in Indonesia was found inside a 7 meter long python.
- In 2018 the body of a woman was found inside an 8 meter long animal.
Despite their size and unpredictability, pythons are still very popular pets for terrarists and owners of exotic snakes. It is possible to adopt one, if you have a large enough terrarium ✔️. What a pet...
3) TITANOBOA CERREJOENSIS
THE BIGGEST AND LARGEST SNAKE IN THE WORLD
According to paleontologists, this gigantic ophidian would be the largest species of snake that ever existed on Earth 🌎. But how big is the largest snake in the world? This prehistoric snake was a creature that could reach 16 meters in length and weigh more than two tons. A real monster!
To determine the size and weight of this creature, scientists used the mathematical relationship between vertebrae size and body length in living snakes.
The Titanoboa would have lived 60 million years ago. About 6 million years after Tyrannosaurus Rex 🦖 disappeared. Many believe that the Titanoboa "is the T-rex of its time".
Above: Reproduction of Titanoboa at 1:1 scale.
A PREHISTORIC PREDATORY SNAKE
Scientists believe that Titanoboa was the most dangerous predator of its time ⚠️, despite the fact that the fauna was then composed of tropical mega-predators fighting for supremacy.
It behaved like an anaconda and spent most of its time in the water, killing its prey with its titanic strength.
The structure of its jaw suggests that it had a formidable bite. Its many teeth, a few centimeters long, suggest that it was also very skilled at catching fish 🐟. But this giant snake probably also fed on giant crocodiles and turtles 1.5 meters in diameter, which it could swallow whole.
THE DISCOVERY OF THE FOSSILS OF TITANOBOA
In 2002, excavations were launched in a coal mine in Colombia after the discovery of a fossilized leaf 🍃 belonging to an ancient tropical forest of the Paleocene. Expeditions led by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Florida Museum of Natural History followed.
In 2009, fossilized vertebrae of a hitherto unknown species of snake were found. So large that it defies imagination.
Snake fossils are essentially vertebrae. Their skulls are almost never found because they are extremely fragile and disintegrate over time. And let's not even talk about moults. But this time, scientists have managed to discover fragments of three skulls of Titanoboa. This allowed them to deduce what this cold-blooded former giant looked like 🦴.
The fossilized remains also revealed that after the extinction of the dinosaurs, the tropics were warmer than today. They thus saw the birth of the South American rainforest (now Amazonia).
TITANOBOA : MONSTER SNAKE, THE MOVIE
The discovery of this enormous snake was even the origin of a two-hour film: TITANOBOA: MONSTER SNAKE. 🎥
This film retraces the existence of this monstrous snake and its discovery by scientists. The Titanoboa is also brought back to life in superb computer-generated images.
A scientifically accurate, life-size replica of Titanoboa 🐍 appears in the film and is on display for the first time at the National Museum of Natural History on March 30, 2012 (see photo above).
An animal that until now has populated only fiction and nightmares, but which can finally be presented as a wonder of nature.
CONCLUSION ON GIANT SNAKES
Contrary to what many people think, these animals almost never attack humans. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, only a few deaths per year are due to constrictor snakes. Although less impressive, the bites of venomous snakes such as the black mamba, viper or king cobra are actually far more dangerous to humans ☠️.
In reality, Anaconda and Python are hunted for their scales. So it is rather the hunters who are a danger for them. These species are also endangered.
The fake news are numerous on the net because the anomalies of nature are fascinating. And the internet doesn't care if a given example is real or fake 🤷. Some do not hesitate to play on the fear of snakes anchored in humans since the dawn of time to attract attention.
This is why sometimes testimonies emerge about the existence of a bloodthirsty snake the size of a soccer field 😂. Often these stories lack tangible proof and are satisfied with a wobbly photo montage. The stories of giant snakes, therefore, have nothing to envy to the stories of sea monsters.