Largest Snake Fossil

Published: February 4 2009


When this snake roamed the earth sixty million years ago it measured about forty-five feet long weighed more than a ton. That’s the largest snake known to ever exist and University of Florida researchers helped lead the expedition that found the fossils in Colombia. The find suggests temperatures along the equator back then ran about ten degrees hotter than today.

Jonathan Bloch/UF paleontologist: “Because snakes are cold-blooded, the size at which they can grow is limited by the mean annual temperature, so by the temperature at which they live. So, if you increase the temperature that they live in throughout the year, then you can increase the size of the snake.”

That explains the snake’s size and if you’re looking for a snake for a snake of today to compare it to, think of a really big boa constrictor.

Jonathan Bloch/UF paleontologist: “The morphology of the snake, the way the bones look, indicate it was an animal very closely related to big boas, specifically within boa snakes, most closely related to boa constrictors.”

The discovery also offers proof giant reptiles did not disappear with the dinosaurs. This snake likely lived about six million years after the dinosaurs’ demise.

(See related post: World’s largest snake shows tropics were hotter in the past)