Snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles having more than 3400 species on earth. Though snakes are very similar to legless lizards they lack eyelids and ears. Most snakes are non-venomous but the ones having venom used it to kill its prey. Fossil evidence suggests that snakes have been evolved from burrowing lizards. Snakes have highly mobile jaws which enables them to swallow prey much larger than their head. Here is a list of world’s top 10 Largest snakes.
1. Black Mamba
The black mamba is a highly venomous snake native to the sub-Saharan desert of Africa. They are grey or dark brown coloured. It is the world’s longest venomous species whose median length is approximately 4.3 metres to 4.5 metres. The colour of Black mamba becomes paler as they grow old. It is the fastest snake over a few surfaces with an average speed of 11 km/hr. Its venom mostly consists of potent neurotoxins that shows rapid symptoms. The Black mamba is a bit shy and escapes when confronted by snakes of other species or other reptiles.
Talking about the appearance, they have a slender body fully covered in smooth and large scales. Despite the name, it is not necessary that black mambas are black in colour. The body colouration totally depends on habitat and it can be green, grey or yellow. It usually flattened its neck and produces a hissing sound that represents that it is about to attack. When they are angry they raise one-third body above the ground, spread their cobra-like neck flap, open their black mouth and hiss. They have been considered responsible for many humans deaths in Africa so they are considered to be deadliest snakes in the world.
2. Python Molurus
A large non-venomous python species found in the subtropical areas of Indian Subcontinent and in the regions of Africa. “Black python”, “Indian Rock python” are other names by which this species is also named. This species is limited to south-east Asia only and you will not find it on any other parts of the world. It is a heavy body snake with a large body and pinkish head.
The newborn black panther is 40-45 cm long and grows up to 350 cm and hence termed as one of the largest snakes in the world. They have triangular head pretty broader than the neck. They have a short tail. Though these are non-venomous snakes, their bites give serious injuries which can cause skin rupture at the sight of bite.
3. King Cobra
The King Cobra ranges in the regions of tropical Asia. Despite the name “Cobra”, this species doesn’t belong to genus Naja. Therefore oftentimes “King Cobra” is a misnomer as it is not a true Cobra. The latest study tells that King cobra possesses a rare intelligence which scientist have recently discovered. It is considered to be a faster learner than any other snakes. It is the only snake that builds nest another indication of its intelligence.
Its level of awareness and alertness is far better than all other snakes. Its length varies from 3.2 metres to 4 metres and typically weighs 6 kg. King cobra is national reptile of India. The snake species love to eat lizards, frogs, birds, mammals, fish and other snakes as well because of excellent night vision and sense of smell they can easily detect prey. The metabolism is quite slow for cobras so they need to eat after every couple of months. The average lifespan of the king cobra is approximately 20 years in the wild, however, they can live longer in captivity. It is also listed as one of the most poisonous animals in the world.
4. Burmese Python
It is the world’s third largest snake considering length or weight to be a parameter. You will find these snakes in the tropical south or southeast Asia. Earlier it was considered to be a sub-species of python molurus but now it is considered to be a distinct species. Burmese pythons are dark coloured snakes with dark black patches at the bottom back of its tail. On an average Burmese python grows 3.7 metres. They have prehensile tails which makes them good climbers.
They are excellent swimmers and they love to be around water bodies so that they can be spent a part of the time in the water. Burmese python breed in early springs with females laying clutches of twelve to thirty-six eggs in months of March or April. The Burmese python is a subspecies of Python molurus that is mostly seen in southern China, Indochina, Burma, and portions of Indonesia that include Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and the Celeb Islands. The average lifespan of the king cobra is more than 20 years in the wild, however, they can live longer in captivity.
5. African Rock Python
A large non-venomous snake of Sub Saharan Africa. It belongs to the species genus python. It has a long stout body patterned with irregular patches of different colours. Like other pythons, the scale of African Rock python is small and smooth to touch. Females are typically larger than men. African Rock python is classified into two sub-species. One is found in central and western Africa and the other in southern Africa. Being a non-venomous snake, it kills its prey by constriction. The Africa Rock python feeds on antelope, warthogs, monkeys, rats, puppies of wild dogs such as Jackal.
The snake species love to eat everything right from birds and bats to medium-sized mammals. The larget the python it captures warthogs, bushbucks and even crocodiles and swallows them whole. One of the most primitive and largest snakes in the world has two functioning lungs and small thorn-like projections on the lower body known as pelvic spurs. There are two subspecies of African rock python know, one is Python sebae sebae or African rock python and another one is Python sebae natalensis or Southern African rock python.
Image Source: Wikimedia
6. Green Anaconda
It is the heaviest and longest known snake species. It is a non-venomous snake also known as “common Anaconda” or “water Anaconda”. The name “Anaconda” was first derived in Sinhala, Sri Lanka and in 1869 an Englishman John Ray wrote of “Anacandia of cylonese” which means the one who crushes the limbs of the buffaloes and yoke beasts. Green Anaconda being world’s longest snake reaching up to 5.1 Metres in length and also the world’s heaviest weighing between 30-60 kg. One of the most dangerous amazon rainforest animals, Green Anaconda is olive green in colour with black blotches along the length of the body.
One of the largest snakes in the world spends most of the time alone in the wild, however, in the month of April and May it looks for the opportunities with the female for mating and many times multiple males pursue one female. They spend most of the time hunting in water and use both sight and smell to hunt and usually hunt on fish, birds, tapirs, wild pigs, capybaras, and caimans.
7. Inland Taipan
One of the most venomous and largest snakes in the world. Its venom drop is most toxic as compared to any other snakes including sea snakes. Its one bite possesses enough lethality to kill 100 men and depending on the nature of bite it can kill anyone within 30-45 minutes if left untreated. It is an agile and extremely fast snake which strikes and attacks its target multiple times with high force. It attacks so rapidly that the opponent or its prey don’t have the time either to run away Or fight back. Since Taipan Snakes live in remote areas, they hardly come in contact with people.
Talking about the appearance, it has a brownish to light green back and scales can be seen on dorsal and lateral sides of the body with edges that create V-shaped markings along the body. The belly of one of the largest snakes in the world is creamy or light yellow with a rounded snout. The head and neck are darker than the rest of the body. Therefore they are not considered as deadliest snake despite such high toxic venom.
Related: Top 10 Non-Venomous Snakes In The World.
8. Mulga Snake
It is a species of venom snake native to Australia. It is also known as “big brown snake” and is considered to be the longest venom snake. The colour of mulga Snake varies from Region to Region. In deserts, they are light brown coloured to dark brown coloured in cooler regions. The venom of mulga snake consists of mycotoxins. Its large bite can deliver 150 gm of poison. Females lay a clutch of 8 to 10 eggs. Eggs hatch in 2-3 months and newly born have to take care of themselves. It preys on lizards, small birds and mammals.
Talking about the appearance, the snake species has an olive-green back, however, colour fades on the lateral sides of the body and turns into yellow, orange or pink on the belly. The scale on the dorsal side of the body is dark coloured at the centre and bi-coloured scales creates a reticulate appearance. The lifespan of the snake species is approximately 20 to 30 years in the wild.
Image Source: Wikimedia
9. The Eastern Indigo Snake
One of the largest snakes in the world belongs to species of large non-venomous snake and is said to be longest snake species in the US. It has many common names like indigo, black indigo and black bull snake. The mature male indigo snakes are larger than females. The longest recorded specimen of this species was 2.8 metres in length. Black indigo is considered to be extinct species due to a number of deaths of the snake by habitat loss. Eastern Indigo have uniform blue-black dorsal and lateral scales. The snake has got its name from shiny iridescent which can be seen blackish purple in bright light. It is also listed as one of the most beautiful snakes in the world.
10. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
A pit viper species found in the regions of South-eastern US. It is not the longest venom snake in the US but is the heaviest snakes and largest rattlesnakes in the US. Their maximum recorded lengths are 2.4 or 2.5 metres. Their average body mass lies between 2.3 to 2.5 kg. As per IUCN, the species is the least concerned species on earth. This species in a few days may be considered to be an endangered species by US wildlife services. The species usually shelter in tunnel and tortoise burrows. They are known as excellent swimmers but are poor climbers.
These are the largest snakes in the world. Do post your comments.