You might have wondered why the meat-eating, apodous reptiles better known as snakes stare so much? Well, it turns out that they do not have eyelids to cover their eyes! So naturally, they keep their eyes open even while resting or hibernating.
Historically, snakes that are scientifically known as serpentes, have evolved from the members of the lizard family. Their bodies, as well as their coping mechanisms among the wild, have evolved in a much greater fashion than their ancestral lizards.
When it comes to the smallest and biggest snake, there are very few reliable options to trust in terms of accuracy, as most of the news and articles reported by anyone other than experts in the wildlife have exaggerated lengths and weights written in them. It is therefore said that if you ever encounter a snake or see one at the zoo, go to reliable sources of information that are credible in the field to learn more about them.
Snake skulls have more joints compared to their ancestral lizards, giving their head more flexibility and allowing them to swallow their prey as it is. You can find them in abundance everywhere in the world except for some locations where they are rare like; Antarctica, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, the Hawaiian archipelago, and small islands like the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Out of the 3000 species of snakes that exist, most of the species are non-venomous. The ones that have venom use it primarily for killing instead of self-defense due to their carnivorous nature.
Now the smallest snake in the world is just a few inches in length, known as the Barbados thread snake. But what about the giant reptiles that creep in the wilds? What is the biggest snake in the world? Let’s have a look at a few of the majestic creatures we share the planet with!
Difference Between Snakes in Captivity and Snakes in the Wild
A reticulated python in captivity will grow to a much larger size than the one that creeps freely in the wild. This is because the one in captivity gets a steady supply of food and thus grows to its optimal size. This is why it is said that for research purposes you should either measure a highly sedated snake or as soon as the snake dies.
A snake in captivity will grow to exceptional lengths but the real average length of the same species found in the wild would be entirely different. This is why it is said to not believe exaggerated lengths reported by masses regarding the serpent reptile.
Biggest Snake in Terms of Weight
When it comes to comparing the reptiles by weight, the clear outstanding victor is the Green Anaconda. It is also known as the Giant Anaconda, a common water boa in the UK, a common Anaconda globally, and is the biggest snake ever. It is shorter than the reticulated python but bulkier when compared to any of them collectively.
Now some reports suggest that the reptile can grow more than 500 pounds in size, but these reports are more anecdotal than facts.
The size that is reported however and is considered reliable is that it can grow up to 97.8 kilograms. Green Anacondas belong to the Boidae family and kill their prey through non-venomous means like their robust jaws. Before swallowing their victim as a whole, they tend to suffocate it by pressing their skeleton in a death grip.
Green Anacondas are marine reptiles and thus they spend their maximum time in water bodies. There are also some reports that claim that the snake can grow up to a length of 30 feet, but there is little confirmation available on this number.
Since they are highly aquatic animals, their eyes are located high on their head so that they can look out of the water while swimming without having to come out of the surface.
When it comes to measuring the reptiles by length, the snake that wins the race is the reticulated python. They belong to Southeast Asia and can grow up to 26 feet. One such particular snake that existed from 1971 to 2002 was a reticulated python known as Samantha.
Some reports claim that the reticulated python can grow up to 33 feet but there is little evidence to that. These snakes belong to the Pythonidae family and are non-venomous constrictors. They kill their prey by suffocating them.
They wrap their body around the victim through the velocity of the attack. Every time their victim breathes out, they tighten their grip and clench more and more.
The reticulated python is considered among the three of the world’s bulkiest pythons. They usually wait for their prey to come within strike range before throwing an attack. Their usual victims are animals found near water bodies.
The World’s Biggest Snake in Terms of its Deadly Venom
Venomous snakes do not possess a large body since they do not need to constrict their victim to kill them. They have a strong venom within their mouth that gets transferred upon bite and is capable of killing their prey within minutes of an attack.
One such snake known as the King Cobra grows up to 18 feet and it kills the prey just by attacking it and unleashing its poisonous venom. The King Cobra is native to Asia, typically Southeast Asia.
It is different from other Cobras in terms of both size and appearance and is regarded as the national reptile of India. It mostly attacks in self-defense or to protect its eggs.
Another snake that falls in the category of the deadliest venomous snake is the Black Mamba. It is among the world’s lengthiest venomous snakes that can grow up to 14 feet.
They are native to South and East African savannas. They are also found in rugged hills, empty woodlands, and many of them also live in valleys. They possess a neurotoxic venom but only use it when they feel threatened by a human or any other animal.
The Black Mamba does not fall under the category of bulky serpents, but it is a long snake with highly venomous abilities.
World’s Heaviest Venomous Snake
Amongst the serpents, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake known as Crotalus adamanteus, its scientific name, is one of the biggest and also the heaviest venom-carrying snake in the world growing up to 2.56 meters long and weighing up to fifteen kilograms.
This serpent is more commonly found in the southeastern United States of America preferring Flatwoods and coastal areas and can be seen in swaps too as it can swim confidently too. They mainly feed on mammals such as rabbits, birds, and squirrels firstly by poisoning their prey with their venom and then consuming them.
A myth that is often misunderstood when related to snakes is that they are all poisonous. This is not true. Not only because there’s a smaller ratio of venomous snakes, but also because they are venomous and not poisonous. An animal is poisonous only if consuming or touching them makes you ill. But since snakes are venomous, their bite or being injected by their venom makes you ill.
Amethystine Python – Another One of the Biggest Snake in the World
The Amethystine Python also belongs to the Pythonidae family and is a non-venomous constrictor that grows up to 24 feet in length. It is also known as Scrub Python. It is listed among the world’s top six biggest snakes.
The serpent is native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. It usually feeds on small animals and birds found in its natural habitat.
Just like the Amethystine Python, the Burmese Python also belongs to the Pythonidae family and is considered among the world’s top five longest snakes. It can measure up to 18 feet and thus is considered among the well-known serpents of the reptile family.
World’s Biggest Sea Snake
According to studies another one in the biggest snake list is considered to be the yellow-colored sea snake known as Hydrophis Spiralis. This species can grow up to 2.75 meters long.
It can be commonly found in the northern Indian Ocean and also parts of Southeast Asia and is rarely sighted in New Caledonia which is located in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. These specimens are found 50 meters below the surface near muddy areas feeding on eels primarily.
World’s Biggest Snake that is now extinct
The giant that once ruled the world due to its size and weight was the Titanoboa snake. It resided in northeastern Colombia which was previously known as La Guajira.
Some articles say that Titanoboa reached up to a length of 42 feet or 128 meters and a weight of twenty-five hundred pounds or one thousand one hundred and thirty-five kilograms.
Scientists have managed to excavate three elements of the giant Titanoboa’s skull that allowed researchers to uncover what this ancient snake looked like.
The Gaboon Viper
Another large snake is Gaboon viper known as Bitis gabonica which is not heavy as compared to eastern diamondback but the interesting fact about this serpent is that they have the largest fangs of any snake at 55 millimeters or up to 2 inches in length and carry up to six hundred milligrams of venom which is the highest of any snake yielding venom.
Snakes and their Lifespan
Even the biggest or largest snakes are not invincible and die due to old age or falling prey to other larger carnivorous animals. The average lifespan of a snake has always been a topic of curiosity. Well, it is explained with the rule of thumb, with a lot of exceptions, that the larger a snake can grow the longer the snake lives.
Now, this depends on species to species. Most large boas can live up to twenty-five to fifty years, colubrid snakes can live up to fifteen to twenty-five and smaller serpents can live up to five to ten years.
All species of the snake are the same as they grow continuously throughout their life span. Depending on the species the strong growth of the snake carries on for one to four years, also depending on the diet of the snake.
The biggest snake eats the most prey which equivalently increases their size. After this period of super growth, the reptiles have a steady and slow growth.
Snakes and their Hiss…
Some interesting facts about these serpents are that they can slither and move fast up to twenty-three kilometers per hour. The black mamba is one of the largest venomous snakes in the world, growing up to a maximum size of four meters which can move at a rate of twenty-three kilometers per hour.
The fun fact is that it is called Black Mamba because of the color inside the snake’s mouth rather than the color of its skin.
Even the largest snake in the world uses their hiss as a defense mechanism. It is most commonly used to tell the prey that the snake is ready to attack as seen by the Hognose snake which hisses loudly before attacking its prey.
Now that you know there is no single way of categorizing the biggest snake, you can imagine how many subtypes and divisions are there of this large family of reptiles. Among the 3000 species of snakes, many of them are even kept as pets by people since they do not attack human beings until they are threatened by them.