Most of us don’t encounter snakes in our day-to-day lives, but we get terrified whenever we see one of these reptiles. There are about 3,400 species of snakes on the planet, and only 20% of them are venomous. While some snakes contain enough venom in one bite to kill 100 adult humans, about 80% of the world’s snakes are non-venomous. They also vary greatly in shape and size. Here we take a look at the top 10 largest snakes in the world.
Ranked: The largest snakes in the world
The ranking below is based on the maximum recorded weight and length of living snakes. They include pythons, anacondas, and boa constrictors. Most of the snakes in this list are non-venomous. It’s worth pointing out that the maximum reported size and mass of snake species could vary because it’s difficult to independently verify most of the measurements.
10- Cuban boa
The Cuban boa or Chilabothrus angulifer belongs to the Boidae family. It is found in Cuba and nearby islands. It lives in tropical dry forest and scrub forest. The Cuban boa weighs up to 27kg and measures up to 4.8 meters in length. Scientists reported in 2017 that the Cuban boa hunts in packs. It was the first spotting of cooperative hunting behavior in snakes.
9- Dark-spotted anaconda
The Dark-spotted anaconda or Eunectes deschauenseei weighs up to 30kg. It is a non-venomous boa species found in the swampy regions of north-eastern South America. The Dark-spotted anaconda could grow up to 3 meters in length. The newborns measure between 11-21 inches at birth. Their habitat is currently under threat due to the agricultural expansion in the region.
8- Boa constrictor
Boa constrictors are large and heavy, but non-venomous snakes. It is found in the tropical regions of South, Central, and North America. Because of their non-venomous nature and beautiful color, the Boa constrictors are kept and bred in captivity by exotic pet lovers, though breeding in captivity is discouraged. Their color pattern varies heavily from region to region. The Boa constrictors could weigh up to 45kg and measure up to 4.3 meters in length. They prey on rats, lizards, mice, and bats.
7- Yellow anaconda
Found in South America, the Yellow anaconda is one of the world’s largest snakes. Adults could grow up to 4.6 meters in length and 55kg in weight. The snake is greenish-yellow or yellow in color with dark brown spots. Since it’s non-venomous, it uses its massive weight to constrict its prey to death. The Yellow anaconda is found on the banks of water bodies and in forests.
6- Amethystine python
Also known as scrub python, the Amethystine python is found in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. According to reports, it could exceed 8.5 meters in length and 80kg in weight. The scrub python mostly preys on rodents, birds, bats, and other small animals. It could also swallow deer, dogs, and humans. It’s non-venomous and the largest native snake in Australia.
5- Indian python
The Indian python aka Python molurus has a maximum mass of 91kg and length of 6.4 meters. It is found in the subtropic regions of India and Southeast Asia. It constricts its prey to death before swallowing head first. The Indian python preys on birds, reptiles, and mammals. It is a lethargic, slow-moving, and timid snake. It’s docile even when attacked. The Indian python is known to be a good swimmer.
4- African rock python
The African rock python or Python sebae could reach a mass of 113kg and a length of up to 7.5 meters. A few years ago, an African rock python was found with a 1.5 meters long Nile crocodile in its belly. It preys on deer, gazelles, goats, and other animals. This non-venomous snake is native to the forests, grasslands, and rocky areas of sub-Saharan Africa. It kills its prey by constriction.
3- Reticulated python
The Reticulated python or Python reticulatus is the longest snake in the world, measuring up to 10.7 meters in length. These non-venomous snakes are native to India and Southeast Asia. They prey on birds, rodents, and mammals. Its specific name reticulatus means “net-like” in Latin, which refers to its unique color pattern. The Reticulated python is an excellent swimmer, traveling between small islands within its range. It is often hunted for its skin, which has medicinal properties.
2- Burmese python
The Burmese python or Python bivittatus is a sub-species of Indian python. Native to Southeast Asia, its maximum recorded mass is 182.8kg and length of 5.74 meters. The Burmese pythons are non-venomous constrictors, and prey on birds, rabbits, and rodents. It is dark-colored with brown blotches on its back. The Burmese python is popular among exotic pet lovers because of its attractive color.
1- Green anaconda
The Green anaconda or Eunectes murinus is native to South America. It is the largest snake in the world with a mass of up to 227kg and length of up to nine meters. They feed on fish, mammals, birds, and other reptiles. The Green anaconda is a nocturnal creature and spends most of its time in water. It is sluggish on the ground because of its heavy weight, but can swim efficiently in water. It is dark green in color with circular black spots covering its body.