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How Big Was the Biggest Snake?

The Titanoboa was the biggest snake that ever lived. It grew as large as 50 feet (15 meters) long and 2,500 pounds (1,250 kilograms). Fortunately for people suffering from ophidiophobia, the snake became extinct about 58 million years ago. It lived over a 10 million year period during the Paleocene epoch, just after dinosaurs became extinct.

More Terrorizing Facts For Ophidiophiles:

  • The largest living snakes are the reticulated python and the giant anaconda. The python, which resides in Southeast Asia, grows to about 28 feet (8.7 meters) long, but is rather slim for its length weighing at most about 240 pounds (109 kilograms). The anaconda, a resident of South American, can grow to about 20 feet (6 meters) long and is a bit thicker in the middle at 550 pounds (250 kilograms).

  • Snakes sometimes have eyes bigger than their stomachs, literally. In 2006, National Geographic found a 13-foot (4-meter) Burmese python that had tried to eat a 6-foot (2-meter) American alligator. It literally exploded the snake's stomach. Both the snake and the alligator perished.

  • Some snakes can "fly." No kidding. Five species in India and Indonesia will slither to the end of a branch, bend themselves into a "J" shape and launch itself through the air and glide — and they do it better than flying squirrels. These species of snakes can grow to about 4 feet (1.2 meters) long.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the largest snake ever recorded?

The largest snake ever recorded was the prehistoric Titanoboa cerrejonensis. According to fossil evidence, this colossal serpent lived approximately 58 to 60 million years ago and could grow up to 42 feet (12.8 meters) in length and weigh as much as 2,500 pounds (1,135 kilograms).

How does the Titanoboa compare to modern snakes?

Compared to modern snakes, the Titanoboa was a giant. The largest contemporary snake, the green anaconda, can reach lengths of up to 30 feet (9 meters) and weigh up to 550 pounds (250 kilograms), making the Titanoboa significantly larger both in length and mass.

Where were the remains of the Titanoboa discovered?

The remains of the Titanoboa were discovered in the coal mines of Cerrejón in La Guajira, Colombia. This region, once a tropical rainforest, provided the perfect environment for the Titanoboa to thrive millions of years ago.

What did the Titanoboa likely eat?

Given its massive size, the Titanoboa likely fed on a diet of large aquatic and terrestrial prey. This could have included fish, crocodilians, and other sizable animals that shared its Paleocene-era habitat, as inferred from the size and construction of its fossilized jaw and teeth.

How do scientists estimate the size of prehistoric snakes like the Titanoboa?

Scientists estimate the size of prehistoric snakes by examining fossilized vertebrae and comparing them to those of modern snakes. By understanding the relationship between vertebrae size and body length in living snakes, paleontologists can extrapolate the approximate size of extinct species like the Titanoboa.

Are there any snakes today that come close to the size of the Titanoboa?

No modern snakes come close to the size of the Titanoboa. The green anaconda is the heaviest and one of the longest contemporary snakes, but it is still much smaller than the Titanoboa. The reticulated python can exceed the anaconda in length, reaching over 20 feet (6 meters), but is also significantly lighter in weight.

Discussion Comments

By Euroxati — On Mar 21, 2014

A while back, I remember seeing the video of the snake eating the alligator. It's all over the internet now. It was a little gross, but intriguing nonetheless. Also, I'm not surprised that the alligator exploded in the snake. They're pretty huge, and even I myself questioned how the alligator fit in there.

By Hazali — On Mar 20, 2014

@Krunchyman - Yes it is. I don't have that fear, but after reading the article, I think even I'd be afraid to see that thing, ha ha. On a more serious note however, I didn't know that snakes could "fly" (for lack of a better word). That's very interesting. It's amazing how they use to the trees to adapt to their environment. I'm assuming it's also a good way to catch their prey off guard.

By Krunchyman — On Mar 19, 2014

Is ophidiophobia a fear of snakes?

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