List of largest snakes

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The largest living snakes in the world, measured either by length or by weight, are various members of the boidae and pythonidae families. They include anacondas, pythons, and boa constrictors, which are all non-venomous constrictors. The longest venomous snake, with a length up to 18.5–18.8 ft (5.6–5.7 m), is the king cobra,[1] and the heaviest venomous snake is likely to be the Gaboon viper (which also has the longest fangs and delivers the largest amount of venom) or possibly the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake – all three of which reach maximum weights in the range of 6–20 kilograms (13–44 lb).

There are ten living snakes, listed below according to their maximum known or reported mass, that have a maximum mass that may reach or exceed 50 pounds (23 kg). Pending the acceptance of its taxonomic status, the Bolivian anaconda (Eunectes beniensis) may also merit inclusion, and the northern and southern variations of African rock python could be considered separately.

In terms of length, in addition to those listed here, there are two other species that may possibly reach a length of 20 feet (6.1 m) or more – the Oenpelli python (Morelia oenpelliensis) and the olive python (Liasis olivaceus) – however, the information available about those species is rather limited.[2] The Oenpelli python, in particular, has been called the rarest python in the world.[3][4][5]

It is important to be aware that there is considerable variation in the maximum reported size of these species, and most measurements are not truly verifiable, so the sizes listed should not be considered definitive. In general, the reported lengths are likely to be somewhat overestimated.[6] In spite of what has been, for many years, a standing offer of a large financial reward (initially $1,000 offered by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s,[7] later raised to $5,000, then $15,000 in 1978 and $50,000 in 1980) for a live, healthy snake over 30 ft (9.1 m) long by the New York Zoological Society (later renamed as the Wildlife Conservation Society), no attempt to claim the reward has ever been made.[2]

Although it is generally accepted that the reticulated python is the world's longest living snake, most length estimates longer than 6.35 m (20 ft 10 in) have been called into question.[6] It has been suggested that confident length records for the largest snakes must be established from a dead body soon after death, or alternatively from a heavily sedated snake, using a steel tape and in the presence of witnesses, and must be published (and preferably recorded on video).[6] At least one reticulated python was measured under full anesthesia at 6.95 m (22 ft 10 in), and somewhat less reliable scientific reports up to 10 m (33 ft) have appeared.[8]

Rank Common name Scientific name Family Mass Image Length Range map
1 Green anaconda Eunectes murinus Boidae May exceed 227 kg (500 lb),[9] validity questionable
97.5 kg (215 lb), reliable, maximum among 780 specimens caught over a seven-year period 1992–98[10]
Average 30.8 kg (68 lb) among 45 specimens (1992–98)[10]
Generally considered the heaviest
Eunectes murinus2.jpg May exceed 8.8 m (29 ft),[9] not firmly verified[6]
5.6 m (18 ft), somewhat reliable[2]
5.21 m (17.1 ft), reliable, maximum among 780 specimens caught over a seven-year period 1992–98[10]
Average 3.7 m (12 ft) among 45 specimens (1992–98)[10]
Minimum adult length 3.2 m (10 ft)[2]
Generally considered the second longest
Eunectes murinus Distribution Map.png
2 Burmese python Python bivittatus Pythonidae 182.8 kg (403 lb), reliable, for "Baby" in 1998[6] Python molurus тигровый питон.jpg 5.74 m (18.8 ft), reliable, for "Baby" ca. 1999[6]
Minimum adult length 2.35 m (7.7 ft)[2]
Python bivittatus Area.svg
3 Reticulated python Python reticulatus Pythonidae Up to 158 kg (350 lb), somewhat reliable[11][12]
158.8 kg (350 lb), somewhat reliable, for "Medusa" in 2011[13]
Almost 160 kg (350 lb), somewhat reliable, for "Twinkie" in 2014[14]
136 kg (300 lb), somewhat reliable, for "Fluffy" in 2010[15]
133.7 kg (295 lb), reasonably reliable, for "Colossus" in 1954 (with an empty stomach)[6][16]
124.7 kg (275 lb), somewhat reliable, for "Samantha" in 2002[16][17]
59 kg (130 lb), reliable, wild specimen in 1999 (after not eating for nearly 3 months)[8]
Python reticulatus сетчатый питон-2.jpg 10 m (33 ft),[11][12] not firmly verified[6]
7.9 m (26 ft), somewhat reliable, for "Samantha" in 2002[16][17]
7.67 m (25.2 ft), somewhat reliable, for "Medusa" in 2011[13]
7.3 m (24 ft), somewhat reliable, for "Fluffy" in 2010[15]
6.95 m (22.8 ft), reliable, wild specimen in 1999[8]
6.35 m (20.8 ft), reasonably reliable, for "Colossus" in 1963 (skeletal length)[6]
Minimum adult length 3.04 m (10.0 ft)[2]
Generally considered the world's longest
Python reticulatus Area.PNG
4 African rock python Python sebae
(sometimes considered two species, P. sebae and P. natalensis)
Pythonidae Up to 113 kg (250 lb),[18] not firmly verified[6] Adult Female Python sebae 1.33aspect.jpg Up to 7.5 m (25 ft),[19] not firmly verified[6]
Minimum adult length 2.50 m (8.2 ft)[2]
Natural Range of Python sebae.svg
5 Indian python Python molurus Pythonidae 91 kg (200 lb),[20] not firmly verified[6]
52 kg (115 lb), reliable[21]
Pratik jain dahod python.JPG 6.4 m (21 ft),[20] not firmly verified[6]
4.6 m (15.1 ft), reliable[21]
Python molurus Area.svg
6 Amethystine (scrub) python Morelia amethistina Pythonidae 91 kg (200 lb)[citation needed]
Little information about size is available[2][22]
High-Yellow Sorong Amethystine Scrub Python.jpg Some reports up to[23] or exceeding 8 m (26 ft),[2] not firmly verified[6]
7.2 m (24 ft), somewhat reliable[24]
In excess of 6 m (20 ft)[23]
Typically 3.5 m (11 ft)[2]
Minimum adult length 1.8 m (5.9 ft)[2]
Little information about size is available[2][22]
Morelia amethistina range.png
7 Yellow anaconda Eunectes notaeus Boidae They commonly weigh 25 to 35 kg (55 to 77 lb), though large specimens can weigh 40 to 55 kg (88 to 121 lb) or even more. [25] Anaconda jaune 34.JPG 4.6 m (15.1 ft), reasonably reliable[1][26]
Typically 3–4 m (10–13 ft)[26]
3.1 m (10 ft) maximum among 86 specimens in a field study[27]
South America
8 Boa constrictor Boa constrictor Boidae More than 45 kg (99 lb)[28] Boa constrictor, Vaňkovka, Brno (2).jpg Possibly up to 4.3 m (14 ft)[29]
A much larger report was debunked[6][30]
Boa constrictor distribution.png
9 Dark-spotted anaconda Eunectes deschauenseei Boidae 30 kg (66 lb)[citation needed] 3 m (9.8 ft),[31] validity unknown Dark spotted anaconda range.png
10 Papuan python Apodora papuana Pythonidae 22.5 kg (50 lb)[32]
Little information about size is available[2]
Apodora papuana 2.JPG One reasonably reliable report of 4.39 m (14.4 ft)[2][33]
Often reaches 3–4 m (9.8–13.1 ft)[2]
Most specimens 1.4–3.6 m (4.6–11.8 ft)[33]
Little information about size is available[2]
Apodora range.png

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mehrtens, John (1987). Living Snakes of the World. New York: Sterling. ISBN 0-8069-6461-8. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Murphy, J. C.; Henderson, R. W. (1997). Tales of Giant Snakes: A Historical Natural History of Anacondas and Pythons. Krieger Pub. Co. pp. 2, 19, 37, 42, 55–56. ISBN 0-89464-995-7. 
  3. ^ Rarest Python in the World. SnakeBytesTV. December 18, 2013. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  4. ^ Breeding plan aims to save snakes. ABC News (Australia). March 29, 2012. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  5. ^ Smith, Deborah (June 20, 2012). "Snakes alive – if only he'd been seeing double". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Barker, David G.; Barten, Stephen L.; Ehrsam, Jonas P.; Daddono, Louis (2012). "The Corrected Lengths of Two Well-known Giant Pythons and the Establishment of a new Maximum Length Record for Burmese Pythons, Python bivittatus" (PDF). Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 47 (1): 1–6. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  7. ^ Gordon, David George, "The Search for the $50,000 Snake". MSN Encarta. Archived October 31, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Fredriksson, G. M. (2005). "Predation on Sun Bears by Reticulated Python in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo". Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 53 (1): 165–168. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  9. ^ a b "Green anacondas: Eunectes murinus". National Geographic. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  10. ^ a b c d Rivas, Jesús Antonio (2000). The life history of the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), with emphasis on its reproductive Biology (PDF) (Ph.D. thesis). University of Tennessee. pp. 7, 36 (esp. Table 3–1), 74–80 (esp. Table 5–1), 111. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  11. ^ a b Mexico, Todd (2000). "Python reticulatus". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  12. ^ a b Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens | Reticulated python.
  13. ^ a b "Longest snake – ever (captivity)". Guinness Book of World Records. October 12, 2011. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  14. ^ "Twinkie The World's Largest Albino Reticulated Python Dies". Reptiles magazine. August 14, 2014. Retrieved 2016-05-08. 
  15. ^ a b "R.I.P. Fluffy: Guinness record-holding reticulated python, 24 feet long, dies at Columbus Zoo". The Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. October 27, 2010. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  16. ^ a b c "The Reticulated Python, Malayopython, Clade". Giant Constricting Snakes: The Science of Large Serpents, JCM Natural History. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  17. ^ a b Santora, Marc (November 22, 2002). "Never Leather, Samantha The Python Dies at the Zoo". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  18. ^ "African rock python". Oregon Zoo. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  19. ^ "African rock python (Python sebae)". Wildscreen. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  20. ^ a b "Python molurus: Indian Python". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  21. ^ a b Minton, S. A. (1966), "A contribution to the herpetology of West Pakistan", Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 134 (2): 117–118 .
  22. ^ a b "Amethystine Python, Simalia amethistina (Schneider)". Giant Constricting Snakes: The Science of Large Serpents, JCM Natural History. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  23. ^ a b Obst, Fritz Jürgen; Richter, Klaus; Jacob, Udo (1988). The Completely Illustrated Atlas of Reptiles and Amphibians for the Terrarium (originally published in German in 1984 as Lexicon der Terraristik und Herpetologie by Edition Leipzig). T.F.H. Publications. pp. 496–498. ISBN 978-0-86622-958-6. 
  24. ^ Wood, Gerald (1983). The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. ISBN 978-0-85112-235-9. 
  25. ^ Mendez, M; Waller, T; Micucci, P; Alvarenga, E; Morales, JC (2007). "Genetic population structure of the yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) in Northern Argentina: management implications". In Robert W. Henderson and Robert Powell. Biology of the Boas and Pythons (PDF). Eagle Mountain Publishing. pp. 405–415. ISBN 0972015434.
  26. ^ a b Colthorpe, Kelly (2009). "Eunectes notaeus". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  27. ^ "Yellow Anaconda, Eunectes notaeus (Cope)". Giant Constricting Snakes: The Science of Large Serpents, JCM Natural History. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  28. ^ Boa Constrictor Fact Sheet – Woodland Park Zoo Seattle WA. Retrieved on 2012-08-22.
  29. ^ Wagner, D. "Boas". Barron's. ISBN 0-8120-9626-6
  30. ^ "The Boa Clade". Giant Constricting Snakes: The Science of Large Serpents, JCM Natural History. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  31. ^ "De Schauensee's Anaconda, Eunectes deschauenseei (Dunn and Conant)". Giant Constricting Snakes: The Science of Large Serpents, JCM Natural History. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  32. ^ de Groot, Michael (2015). "Apodora Papuana: Papuan Olive Python". Pythonidae. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  33. ^ a b "Papuan Olive Python, Simalia papuana (Peters and Doria, 1878)". Giant Constricting Snakes: The Science of Large Serpents, JCM Natural History. Retrieved 2016-02-04.