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Titanoboa – The Largest Snake Ever Found

May 27, 2012

While we’re on the subject of snakes – native and non-native, here is a subject that should feed your nightmares. A complete, fossilised skeleton of a gigantic snake was found in an open-pit coal mine in Colombia South America. It lived 58 to 60 million years ago. It would have weighed 2,500 pounds, was 43 feet long and, at its largest diameter, would have come up to an adult man’s hips. Snakes are generally able to swallow prey that weighs about the same as they do, so  Titanoboa Cerrejonensis (as it was named) could have eaten a large cow or bison, if any had been around.

Because Titanoboa was cold-blooded, the tropical climate had to be warmer than it is today for a snake that large to survive, The farther from the equator that a reptile lives, the smaller it has to be. Extrapolating from the energy requirements of modern snakes, it was estimated that Titanoboa required an average temperature of 86 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit, 3 to 10 degrees higher than the modern average in coastal Colombia. Big animals went extinct because it simply got too hot. This helps us to understand that the effects of global warming go beyond just rising sea levels. Researchers now believe that the climate got even hotter near the end of Titanoboa’s reign, perhaps hastening the snake’s demise.

In summary, the warmer the climate, the larger a snake (or other reptile) can grow (to a point).  Earth’s average temperature is once again increasing due to global warming. If we warm-blooded animals survive, we can expect to see larger reptiles farther away from the equator. At 35 to 40-degree latitudes, we could soon see 20-foot rattlesnakes, 15-foot Copperheads, and 8-foot frogs. And, at the equator, we might see the reincarnation of the 43-foot Titanoboa. Sweet dreams, everybody.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 27, 2012 11:48 AM


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