Animals

Afraid of Snakes? Avoid this Post!


 

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Titanboa, gobbling up a quick lunch of a fully-grown crocodile. Photo by Ryan Quick from Greenbelt, MD, USA (Titanoboa 2) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Colombia once was home to the largest snake that ever lived: the titanboa.

Weighing in at 2,500 pounds and reaching nearly 50 feet in length, this monster of the marsh likely fed on crocodiles, large turtles and lungfish.

Its fossils have placed it squarely in the midst of the Paleocene period, when warmer temperatures would have been ideal for promoting the survival of such a massive creature. Because of its size, titanboa probably spent most of its time in the water, where it could hold its breath for as long as 45 minutes, waiting for unsuspecting prey to stumble withing its reach.

Like anacondas, pythons, and other constrictors, titanboa killed its prey by wrapping its muscled body around the victim and squeezing it to death. In the case of titanboa, its strength and size would have not only prevented its prey from breathing, but it also would have been able to stop blood from circulating, making death quick and inevitable.

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Titanboa, compared to other prehistoric snakes and a full-grown man. photo: PrehistoricWildlife.com

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