Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by julius. julius Wonders, “what is the worlds largest snake” Thanks for WONDERing with us, julius!
Today's Wonder of the Day will likely generate definite responses among our Wonder Friends. Most kids either love or hate snakes. Very few people have a lukewarm attitude toward snakes.
So what do you think? Are you fascinated by these long, colorful creatures? Or does the mere thought of snakes send chills down your spine? If you like snakes, you'll love learning more about the largest snakes in the world. If not…well…get ready for some chills!
When kids talk about snakes, one of the questions that generates lots of WONDER is what is the largest snake? Unfortunately, there's not an easy answer to that question. It depends upon how you define “largest." It also depends upon whether you're talking about snakes alive today or snakes that have ever lived.
If you define “largest" in terms of length, then the longest snake in the world today is the reticulated python. Although reports of large snakes are notorious for exaggerations, the longest pythons easily stretch over 28 feet!
Pythons live in parts of Africa, Asia and Australia. They generally prefer to live in trees. Although not native to North America, the Burmese python has become an invasive species in parts of the Everglades National Park in Florida.
Although pythons tend to be the longest snakes in the world, there's another type of snake that grows really long and usually happens to be much heavier. The anaconda can grow nearly as long as the python and it tends to be both wider and heavier.
Unlike pythons, anacondas tend to live in the waters of Central and South America. The largest anaconda ever measured was nearly 28 feet long and 44 inches around. Scientists believe it must have weighed over 500 pounds!
Would you be scared to come face to face with an anaconda? Unlike many snakes that use their fangs to inject venom into their prey, anacondas (and pythons!) are not venomous.
Instead, they kill their prey by constriction. This means they wrap their body around their prey and squeeze with their powerful muscles until their prey can no longer breathe.
As large as anacondas and pythons are, though, they look absolutely tiny compared to the largest snake that ever lived on Earth. Nearly 60 million years ago, a giant slithered through the rainforests of Colombia. Scientists who have studied it call it Titanoboa.
Titanoboa stretched almost 50 feet long and weighed about 2,500 pounds! At its widest point, Titanoboa was nearly three feet wide. If an adult stood next to Titanoboa, it would reach to about his waist.
If you don't like snakes, Titanoboa would definitely elicit a “Yikes!" Putting it in perspective, scientists believe Titanoboa was as long as a bus, heavier than a bison and could easily eat something the size of a cow!
Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2