Snakes- just the thought of one of these slithering murder-worms is enough to give most people the chills. With venomous fangs, muscular bodies that can crush the life out of a grown man, and S-tier stealth skills, snakes are nature’s way of reminding us that she hates us.
But what are the largest snakes that ever lived- and more importantly, how many of them are still around? Warning, for anyone suffering from ophidiophobia you may want to tune out now or never go outside again.
20. Eastern diamondback rattlesnake
Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are known for one dominant feature- their deathly rattle that they use to politely inform you that if you don’t back off right now, you’re about to be in a world of hurt. The Eastern Diamondback is the king of the rattlesnake pile though, with specimens growing up to 7 feet (2.1 m) and weighing on average up to 15lbs for large specimens (6.7kg).
But it’s believed the diamondbacks can actually grow even larger than this, with at least one documented specimen having reached an incredible 7.8 feet (2.4m) and 34 lbs (15.4kg)! Luckily for you, most diamondbacks are much, much smaller than this, and their rattle will warn you to stay well away from their highly venomous fangs.
19. King cobra
King Cobras average a length of up to 12 feet (3.6 meters), but some specimens have been measured at a whopping 18 feet (5.4 meters), and can weigh up to 30lbs (14 kg). This snake combines the best of both worlds- if you’re a snake anyways- with a muscular body capable of crushing bone, and a deadly venomous bite that can leave a victim paralyzed within minutes.
This snake is perhaps best known for its threat displays, when it’ll rise up to four feet off the ground and stare its victim in the face. Despite its fearsome reputation though, King Cobras are notoriously shy creatures and typically only attack when threatened, backed into a corner, or defending a clutch of eggs. Surprisingly, regular rattler snakes in North America cause 5 times as many deaths per year as King Cobras do across South East Asia.
Now it’s time for our first prehistoric member of this countdown, and if the fact that this snake appears at no. 18 tells you anything, it’s that this means most of history’s deadliest snakes are very much still alive in our modern era.
The Sanajeh hails from the late Cretaceous in modern day India, and was first discovered coiled around an egg, adjacent to a sauropod hatchling. From this scientists have inferred that the snake preyed on young dinosaurs and their eggs, likely meaning that the snake was highly venomous as it would have to ensure a fast kill in order to escape an egg clutch before mom and dad have a chance to respond.
Coming in at 11 feet (3.5 meters), Sanajeh was probably a pretty heavy snake given its diet of large dinosaur eggs and their equally large hatchlings.
17. Olive python
You already know we couldn’t possibly do a video discussing terrifying animals and not include Australia. God put Australia on the very southern edge of the world surrounded by oceans, and still humans didn’t get the message to keep out.
Coming in at 13 feet (4 m) and weighing as much as 40 pounds (20 kg), the Olive python has been giving unwary bushwhackers out on walk-abouts the hershey squirts for centuries. Yet despite its impressive size and penchant for eating crocodiles, the Olive python is actually considered to be one of the friendliest snakes in the world, and pose no threat to humans.
Snake owners rave about Olive pythons for their beauty, but also their curious, calm temperament when out of their cages.
16. Papuan python
If snakes had legs, they’d rule the world, but thankfully for us evolution has limited their predatory advantages to keen senses, muscular bodies, and venomous fangs. But then evolution hacked the game and gave one species of python access to cheats- enter the Papuan python, a snake with chameleon-like powers to change its color.
Coming in at 17 feet (5m) and weighing up to 50 lbs (22.5 kg), the Papuan python is a terrifying predator in its own right, even without the added advantage of chameleon powers. Scientists still don’t understand how or why the snake can change colors, but this python is capable of changing from jet black to mustard yellow, possibly depending on its mood.
15. Cuban boa
The one good thing about snakes is that at the very least, they are solitary animals. Or, at least they were until scientists discovered Cuban boas hunting together in a pack.
That’s right, Cuban boas took the advantage that humans, wolves, wild dogs, and lions have- pack tactics- and added it to their already terrifying arsenal of natural advantages. For now, these boas, which can grow up to 16 feet (4.8m) and weigh as much as 60 pounds (27 kg) limit their pack hunting to bats, as dozens of the snakes line up outside of cave entrances and snatch flying bats out of the air.
But it’s only a matter of time before these huge snakes get a taste for man, and start lining up outside of Walmarts to prey on the unwary.
14. Dark-spotted anaconda
When people think anaconda they think of two things- Sir Mix A Lot and the Green anaconda. However, the Green anaconda may be the largest of its cousins, but is one of several species.
The shrimp of this absolutely monstrous family of snakes is still a significantly large snake nonetheless, with the Dark-spotted anaconda growing up to 15 feet (4.6m) and weighing up to 70 lbs (31 kg).
Primarily a water snake, the Dark-spotted anaconda preys on anything stupid enough to enter the Amazonian rivers where it makes its home.
13. Yellow anaconda
In what will definitely not be the last showing for the anaconda family on this list, the Yellow anaconda is slightly bigger than the dark-spotted anaconda, reaching lengths of up to 15.1 feet (4.6 m) and weighing as much as 77 lbs (35kg).
Its yellowish skin allows the anaconda to perfectly blend in with the murky waters of turbulent rivers, or along the muddy banks where it stalks everything from large mammals to crocodiles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Yellow anacondas are not recommended to be kept as pets, as they are extremely aggressive animals.
12. Boa constrictor
The Boa constrictor may also be called the ‘common boa’, but there’s very little that’s average about this monster snake. A common fixture in the homes of many of America’s favorite creepy uncles that never got married, the boa is notorious for eating pets and even children when poorly taken care of.
Coming in at sizes of up to 14 feet (4.3 m) and an average weight of 33 lbs (15kg), some common boas have grown to absolutely monstrous sizes and weighed as much as 100 lbs (45 kg), though thankfully for anyone that doesn’t fancy being suffocated to death by a giant snake as their ribs snap like matchsticks, it is incredibly rare for them to grow to this size.
11. Bolivian anaconda
Coming in at 13 feet (4 meters) and weighing just a little more than its Yellow anaconda and Dark-Spotted anaconda cousins, the Bolivian anaconda was believed to be a hybrid between Yellow and Green anacondas, but recent research has confirmed that this frightening snake is a species all its own.
Thankfully this massive snake makes its home primarily in the jungles of Bolivia and surrounding areas, but is a notorious threat to domesticated wildlife and has been hunted to near extinction.
Sounding like an Icelandic heavy metal band, Yurlunggur is a prehistoric snake only recently discovered. This massive 20 foot (6 meter) snake roamed Australia during the Miocene period, where it hunted in packs of up to 30 snakes at a time and took down prey on land and sea.
Fine, we actually don’t know anything about its hunting behavior as very little fossil evidence of this snake has been discovered, but at this point given everything we’ve learned about snakes so far we wouldn’t be surprised if any of that was actually true. Either way, we’re glad this one’s extinct, though Australia definitely has more than enough modern horrors to worry about.
9. Amethystine python
The Amethystine python is one of six of the world’s largest living snakes, and if you’re paying close attention you’ll see that that means only 3 of our top ten most terrifying snakes to ever live, lived in the ancient past.
This means that our modern world may be the most terrifying place to live for anyone with a fear of snakes. Also known as the scrub python, there’s nothing scrubbish about this massive snake which can reach an incredible 22.7 feet (7 m) in length and weigh as much as 110 lbs (50kg). This massive constrictor snake makes its home- where else- in Australia, along the northernmost tip of the continent, and is endemic to Western New Guinea.
These massive snakes eat everything from birds, to possums, to even wallabies, and pretty much anything that happens to wander by while it’s feeling hungry.
Yet another monster snake from Australia, the Wonambi was well known to the aboriginals that inhabited the land down under. Measuring between five and six meters long, this massive snake was known to lay in ambush at watering holes, where prey would be forced to come to it.
Capable of killing and consuming a small child, aboriginal children were cautioned to never approach a watering hole alone and wait for an adult. Another non-venomous snake, the Wonambi instead preferred to crush prey to death before swallowing it whole.
7. Indian rock python
The Indian rock python is peculiar for a snake, in that it’s one of the few snakes that seems almost reluctant to attack- even in self-defense. Notoriously lethargic and very slow moving, these massive pythons have been known to go up to 2 years without a meal.
When on the hunt though, the Indian rock python uses its muscular body to asphyxiate prey before swallowing it whole. The largest of these pythons ever officially recorded was discovered in Pakistan and grew to 15 feet (4.6m) and weighed in at 110 lbs (52 kg).
Curiously, these pythons are known to vomit up their meals if they feel threatened so they don’t accidentally puncture their own bodies on bones, hoofs, or antlers, before slithering away to safety.
6. African rock python
The largest snake in Africa, the African rock python is the undisputed heavyweight of the African bush. Growing up to 20 feet (6 m) and weighing up to an incredible 201 lbs (91 kg), there’s little this massive snake fears from Africa’s other predators.
Thankfully, the average size of African rock pythons differs based on geography, with snakes living closer to human settlements being smaller, and the uninhabited wilds of Sierra Leone home to the true monsters of this species.
The true maximum size of this species is unknown, and rumors persist of even larger snakes such as the one spotted by a World War II veteran pilot in the 1950s while flying a helicopter in the Congo.
5. Burmese python
In modern times, it doesn’t get much bigger than the incredible Burmese python. Growing up to 19 feet (5.8 m), the largest verified Burmese python weighed in at an absolutely mind blowing 403 lbs (183 kg). At these sizes, there’s very little that’s off the menu for this snake, and that includes humans with stories of Burmese pythons crushing humans to death and then eating them head-first regularly reported in the media.
In 2018, a woman from Indonesia went missing after going to check on her vegetable garden. What the rescue party discovered was terrifying- a monster of a python with a huge bloated belly that when cut open, revealed the remains of the dead woman. And if you think you’re safe living in America, think again, as in 2019 a 17 foot python was found in the US.
4. Reticulated python
Most snakes have a fairly limited range, which is only expanded when humans who make terrible life decisions try and keep one as a pet, only to realize it’s far too difficult to handle such a massive snake and release it into their local wilderness.
The Reticulated python, the longest living snake in the world, doesn’t need humans to spread its reign of terror, as it’s an excellent swimmer that’s been spotted far out at sea.
The largest recorded python weighed in at 350 lbs (159 kg) and was an incredible 25.2 feet (7.67 m) long, though it’s believed that even larger specimens are possible in the most remote areas of its south Asian habitat. Reticulated pythons have been known to kill and eat everything from sun bears to human children.
3. Green anaconda
When you think man-eating snake, you probably think of the Green anaconda– and not without reason. Averaging around 22 feet (6.7 m) in length, Green anacondas routinely weigh as much as 200 lbs (91 kg).
However, historical records have given us lengths of almost 30 feet, and weights in excess of 300 lbs. Amazon natives have many stories of snakes even larger than this, with lengths of 35-40 feet (11-12 m) and weights of over 400 lbs (181 kg).
Historically it’s been difficult to verify many of these encounters with monstrous snakes, as these massively powerful animals are less than cooperative about stretching out so they can be measured by scientists.
Given the incredible sizes other snakes can reach in areas untouched by humans, and the long lifespan of an anaconda, such reports of monster snakes may not be without some merit.
Until the discovery of the snake at the number one spot on our countdown, Gigantophis was considered to be the largest snake that ever lived. Initial size estimates had it growing from 30 to 35 feet (9.3 to 10.7m), but revised estimates have shorted this figure to just over 22 feet (6.9 meters).
Living during the Paleogene period, mammals were just beginning to diversify and celebrate the fall of their cruel dinosaur overlords- until Gigantophis showed up to eat them whole and remind them that reptiles were still the coolest kids on the block.
This is it, the snake that ruled them all- the largest snake in all of discovered history. While modern anacondas are rumored to grow up to 40 feet, the Titanoboa regularly grew up to 42 feet (12.8 m) in length, and weighed in at an incredible 2500 lbs (1,135kg).
That makes the average Titanoboa as heavy as a modern car, and as long as a school bus. This pants-shittingly terrifying monster of a snake roamed the earth shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs, and along with its cousin Gigantophis, served to remind the upstart mammals that reptiles are king.
Curiously, while Titanoboa could have eaten literally anything that crossed its path- except maybe another Titanoboa- it’s believed it was mainly a fish eater, which would help explain how this massive snake carried its bulk around.
Such a heavy snake would have been poorly suited for hunting on land, and would need the aid of buoyancy to move around quickly.
And there you have it, the 20 of the largest snakes to ever live, and 20 reasons to never, ever, leave your house again.