Scientists found the skeleton of the biggest snake in the world in Columbia. It was as big as a schoolbus and as heavy as a small car.
Titanoboa: 45 ft (14 m) Long and 1.25 Tons in Weight
The giant “titanoboa” lived just after the dinosaurs died out, around 60 million years ago. It was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) warmer than it is today. As the metabolism of “cold-blooded” reptiles like snakes is directly related to the temperature of their surroundings, they were able to get so incredibly big. This animal was an impressive 45 ft (14 m) long and weighed around 1.25 tons.
This photo-realistic illustration shows how the titanoboa might have actually looked. As there were no cameras back then, there are - of course - no photos. An albertaceratops is standing next to the titanoboa.
Olympic Gold For the Titanoboa
With these measurements, it is the largest, longest and heaviest snake in the history of the world - even if it’s been dead for a while. Scientists believe that it lived in a similar way to the anaconda that now lives in South America.
This photo-realistic illustration shows the titanoboa with a megalodon, the largest shark in the world (now extinct).
It’s Getting Hot in Here!
The fossil was found in South America, in a coal mine in Columbia. Almost all vertebra and 184 other spine/rib bones were dug out of the tunnel. It must have been considerably warmer there at that time - 60 million years ago. Scientists believe that snakes’ body sizes directly depend on the temperature. They think the average annual temperature was between 86 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (30 and 35 degrees Celsius).
Where Does the Name “Titanoboa” Come From?
Boa is a word used for snakes in the boinae family. Titans were giant gods in Greek mythology. After all, you could hardly call this snake a “dwarf boa”.
Are There Big Snakes Like this Today?
Snakes that live on Earth today don’t get as big or as heavy. The biggest snake in the world is the reticulated python at 22.8 ft (6.95 m) long. Of course, there are sensational finds but it mostly turns out that the snake has been artificially stretched, exaggerated or measured incorrectly.