All the peoples of the world have legends about giant snakes. In China and Japan, they were transformed into legends about dragons, mostly "negotiable" creatures, endowed with the same tremendous intelligence. In India, snakes have become a symbol of wisdom, while in Europe dragons have acquired demonic features, becoming the personification of evil that must be destroyed. All this variety of legends has one common basis - the existence of giant reptiles.
What is the largest snake in the world that became the prototype for these legends? The largest snakes living on our planet today are the anaconda and python. This is indisputable and is recognized by all researchers. But which of them is the best? Let's try to understand this issue.
The family of pythons has nine genera and forty-one species, all of which are non-venomous. The sizes of pythons of different species vary greatly: from fifty centimeters to ten meters. However, it is absolutely possible to speak about pythons of much shorter length. The Bronx New York City Zoo housed a 7.5 meter python that died in 2002. Often, sensationalized journalists report much larger individuals, but when checked, these messages turn out to be "ducks".
For example, once the media reported that the zoo contains a Filipino reticulated python that is 14 meters long, 85 centimeters long and weighs as much as 447 kilograms! When checking, it turned out that the length of the reptile was overstated by more than two times. And pythons are rarely heavier than a hundred kilograms. The usual reticulated pythons (the largest members of the family), regularly found in the jungle, are much shorter. Their usual length is 4-5 meters.
At times, there are reports from the indigenous inhabitants of the South Asian forests that they allegedly killed a python ten meters long, and even much more. True, they cannot provide proof of their words. No photographs, no reptile skins. Most likely, here we are dealing with the most commonplace hunting bikes.
It is reliably known that the heaviest anaconda weighed about two hundred kilograms, while the heaviest reticulated pythons never reach such an indicator. According to this parameter, the palm can be safely given to the representative of South America. But with the length of the reptile, everything is not so simple. There is a lot of evidence of the existence of super-huge anacondas, the trouble is that they are not supported by material evidence - if not skins, then at least reliable photos.
The longest captive anaconda is known to be nine meters long. In the media, there is information that the longest of the anacondas caught by people was a specimen of 11.43 meters, and there is allegedly confirmation. True, there are again problems with the evidence base. And yet the anaconda, according to the available reliable information, both in length and in weight, slightly exceeds the reticulated python. That is, it rightfully bears the title of the largest of the existing snakes. Summarize.
|Confirmed length, m||Confirmed mass, kg||Estimated maximum length, m||Estimated maximum mass, kg||Habitat|
|Reticulated python||7.5||150||10||170||Indochina, Indonesia|
|Anaconda||9||200||12||230||Tropics of South America|
How was it before?
What is the largest snake that ever existed on Earth? Paleontologists have established that 60-70 million years ago there lived a snake, a close relative of the current boas, which received the Latin name Titanoboa cerrejonensis. The climate of the era when the last dinosaurs and the world's largest snake lived was much warmer than it is now. This allowed the cold-blooded reptiles to grow considerably larger.
The remains of a snake found in a coal mine made it possible to reconstruct its skeleton and determine its size. The length of the found reptile fossil was about fifteen meters. This is significantly more than the length of both the python and the anaconda. The fossil monster was so impressive that it even "starred" in a movie. This snake can be seen in the fantasy series "Jurassic Portal: New World"..