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What are the Largest Snakes in the World?

Michael Anissimov
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The longest snakes in the world are the Reticulated Python, a medium-build python that lives in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, and the Green Anaconda of the Amazon. One source (Oliver 1958 and Gilmore and Murphy 1993) reported a Green Anaconda with a length of 11.5 meters (37.7 ft), but its validity has been questioned and the value is impossible to verify. Some biologists dispute this, putting the maximum anaconda length at 9.5 meters (31.1 ft). Either way, the Green Anaconda is still probably the heaviest of the world's snakes, with the largest known specimens weighing over 50 kg (110 lb).

All reports of anacondas larger than 10 meters in length should be regarded with caution. Anaconda snakes of as long as 15-18 m (50-60 ft) were reported sporadically since the colonization of South America by Europeans, but these claims are highly uncertain. Since the early 20th century, the Wildlife Conservation Society has offered a $50,000 USD (US Dollars) award for any anaconda over 9.1 meters (30 ft) in length, but this prize has never been collected. Still, the prospect of giant snakes has fueled the public imagination for decades, as evidenced by movies such as Anaconda.

The longest well-documented snake is the Reticulated Python from Southeast Asia. The longest specimen was 10.7 meters (35.1 ft), and this value is agreed upon by biologists. This is the only snake absolutely confirmed to be over 10 meters in length. Large reticulated pythons are voracious predators. As a rule of thumb, these snakes can swallow anything less than 1/4 their own length, and up to their own weight. As such, some reticulated pythons have been observed eating viverrids (e.g., civets and binturongs), primates, and even one relatively sickly 43 kg (95 lb) Sun Bear, which took two and a half months to digest.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All Things Nature contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Sep 24, 2014

I've heard the length vs. weight debate where big snakes are concerned, but mercy sakes --does it matter? One of those boids is plenty big enough to hurt an adult, to say nothing of a child.

A guy I worked with had a 7 foot Burmese python -- named Petunia of all things. He loved keeping it, and the girl he married liked it, until she had a baby. Then she was frantic that Petunia would try to hurt the baby. They eventually had the snake put down.

Really, it's animal cruelty any time anyone gets a pet (of whatever species), cannot care for it properly and then has it euthanized because a baby comes along, or it gets too big. In fact, an enclosure for a big boid (anaconda, python, etc...) should have about one square foot of space per foot of snake. Ideally. That's a lot of space if you have a 20-foot snake.

By Scrbblchick — On Sep 23, 2014

There was an article in National Geographic several years ago about a "man-eating" python in India. People said villagers had been coming up missing.

A local hunter eventually caught a monster reticulated python and when X-rayed, the skeleton of a human was visible, according to the article. They think it was a child who had disappeared about three months before. The toddler was about three years old, if I recall correctly. Seems like the snake was about 25 feet long or so.

And people think they can keep big snakes safely as pets. They're nuts. Some guy in our area was fined for having an 18-foot Burmese python in his house. It got out and was deemed a public danger. Darn right, it was.

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All Things Nature contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics,...
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