Where Is the World’s Longest Snake?
The longest snake in the world – the python – is found in the tropics, in and around the Malay region. It is the reticulated or regal python, which can sometimes be as much as 30 feet long. It kills its prey by coiling itself round the animal and hugging it, so that it cannot breathe. Then it swallows the victim whole.
The python is strong enough to kill an ox, but chooses smaller animals which it can swallow. If a python is disturbed soon after a meal, it is likely to vomit the animal up again, still whole. It rarely attacks man and is not poisonous.
Most pythons live in trees. They also like lying in water where it is cool. The python lays oval eggs with leathery shells, sometimes as many as 100 at a time. It guards the eggs by coiling itself round them.
The anaconda, which inhabits the rivers and swamps of Brazil, Peru and the Guiana’s, is the largest American snake; it rivals and sometimes exceeds the python in size.
The longest venomous snake, with a length up to 18.5–18.8 ft (5.6–5.7 m), is the king cobra, and the heaviest venomous snake is likely to be the Gaboon viper (which also has the longest fangs and delivers the largest amount of venom) or possibly the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake – all three of which reach maximum weights in the range of 6–20 kilograms (13–44 lb).
In terms of length, there are two other species that may possibly reach a length of 20 feet (6.1 m) or more – the Oenpelli python (Morelia oenpelliensis) and the olive python (Liasis olivaceus) – however, the information available about those species is rather limited. The Oenpelli python, in particular, has been called the rarest python in the world.
Although, generally accepted that the reticulated python is the world’s longest living snake, most length estimates longer than 6.35 m (20 ft 10 in) have been called into question. It has been suggested that confident length records for the largest snakes must be established from a dead body soon after death, or alternatively from a heavily sedated snake, using a steel tape and in the presence of witnesses, and must be published (and preferably recorded on video).
At least one reticulated python was measured under full anesthesia at 6.95 m (22 ft 10 in), and somewhat less reliable scientific reports up to 10 m (33 ft) have appeared.