People have an innate fear of snakes.Ophidiophobia is one of the most common phobias in the world, and studies have shown that most primates are genetically wired in such a way that they can quickly notice snakes. In prehistory, snakes are teeming with small ones – some were true giants.
Everyone is talking about Titanoboa cerrejonensis. I tend not to write about famous, well-known fossils, but it would be wrong to exclude them from this answer.Titanoboa was 12.8 meters long, a ton heavy and is commonly referred to as the largest snake in history.
To bring at least something new to the table, I should mention that studies have shown that Titanoboa was more of a fish eater than a megafauna killer.Perhaps the snake was actually a gentle giant?
Before the discovery of Titanoboa, the title of the largest snake went to another species – Gigantophis garstini.
She lived about 20 million years after Titanoboa was found in the Eocene in Africa.It was a remarkable 11 meters long and fed on the ancestors of today’s elephants.
The close relative of Gigantophis, Madtsoia madagascariensis, lived in the last millions of years of the age of dinosaurs in Madagascar.
He had lived with many famous dinosaurs – Majungasaurus, Masiakasaurus and Rahonavis – and also the giant frog Beelzebufo.
And maybe he ate them.
Both Madtsoia and Gigantophis belong to the archaic family of giant snakes known as Madtsoidics.
Both of these genera lived long ago, but some survived until recently in Australia.
You may have heard of Wonambi naracoortensis, a Pleistocene Australian snake that was more than 6 metres long.This may not sound much compared to the previous monsters, but it was still significantly larger than an anaconda. It also existed alongside giant kangaroos, marsupial lions and early Australians – perhaps it inspired the myth of the rainbow snake.
At the same time and in the same place as Wonambi lived Yurlunggur camfieldensis.
It was named after the myth of Aboriginal Yurlungur, a copper snake awakened by the smell of a woman’s menstrual blood and consumed her and her family.
Yurlunggur could be up to 8 meters long.It had hunted in the water, but lived in earth caves dug in soft ground by the water. It was not toxic and instead used a constriction to kill.