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Top 10 Largest Reptiles and Snakes

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Laura Keating

Script written by Laura Keating

They don’t get much bigger than this. From the Malayan Water Monitor, to the Burmese Python, and the Reticulated Python, these enormous creatures might amaze you… if they don’t terrify you! WatchMojo count down the Top 10 Largest Reptiles and Snakes.

Special thanks to our user Esteban Tomas Guirao for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Largest+Reptiles.

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Script written by Laura Keating

Top 10 Largest Reptiles and Snakes



They don’t get much bigger than this. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Largest Reptiles and Snakes.

For this list, we considered only the largest LIVING snake and reptile species, meaning no extinct or fabled animals, so tough luck T-Rex and better luck next time Welsh Dragon. Additionally, all lizards are reptiles, but not all reptiles are lizards, and we will be referring to both in turn.

#10: Malayan Water Monitor


Also known as the Asian Water Monitor, these are one of the most common lizards in south and southeast Asia, with a range from Sri Lanka to some islands of Indonesia. But, regardless of the country, they are always found near water. On average, an adult water monitor will not get much bigger than 6 and a half feet, however there have been records of some reaching 10 and a half feet. They are also the second heaviest lizard in the world. Perhaps owing to their terrible size, in Thailand the local name for the creature, hia, is actually an insult, and denotes bad luck.


#9: Burmese Python


Among the largest of the world's snakes is this king of tropical southeast Asia. Despite their muted color palette of brown and black splotches over a tan body, they are almost instantly recognizable, not least of all for their size. In the wild, the Burmese Python can reach an average length of 12 feet, however they have been known to grow to almost 19 feet. Native to south and southeast Asia, they've become an invasive species in the southern United States, after a python breeding facility was broken open during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. They are now banned for import to the US.


#8: Reticulated Python

It may come as a surprise, but this python – rather than the anaconda – is actually the longest snake in the world. During a study of more than a thousand wild reticulated pythons in southern Sumatra, the average length was estimated at a range from a modest 4.9 to an incredible 21.3 feet! Meanwhile, an example in Indonesia was measured at 22.8 feet, and in the 1950s the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium was home to the aptly named Colossus, who was claimed to be over 28 feet long … although that number later became heavily contested. Still, these guys can get huge!

#7: Alligator Snapping Turtle


You don’t have to be long to be a formidable reptile. Often associated, although not closely related to, the common snapping turtle, the alligator snapping turtle is among the heaviest freshwater turtles in the world. So named because of its sharp, plated shell, heavy head, and crazy powerful jaws, this is one dude you do not want anywhere near your toes. Found in the southeastern United States, the heaviest confirmed of this species lived at the Aquarium in Chicago, and weighed in at 249 pounds! Not normally such monsters, they’re typically on a spectrum of 19 to 179 pounds.


#6: Bushmaster


While the non-venomous reticulated python might have top spot for longest snake, the Bushmaster is both the longest venomous snake in the western hemisphere, and the longest viper in the world. Under its scientific name, Lachesis, the snakes are poignantly named after the second of the three Fates in Greek Mythology, specifically the one who measured out the length of the thread of life. On average varying from 6 and a half to 13 feet in length, they have been known to reach just under 15 feet, earning them their title.


#5: Nile Crocodile


This African crocodile is a contender for the second largest reptile in the world. An apex predator, it is one of the deadliest crocs in the world, and will take down almost anything in snapping distance. An opportunistic ambush hunter, it will wait hours, even days for the right moment. On average the males of the species can reach up to 16 feet 5 inches, and over 1500 pounds, however they have been accurately recorded up to 20 feet. Deadly, abundant, and roaming the Earth since the Plio-Pleistocene period about 5 million years ago, these guys were represented in the Egyptian pantheon of Gods.

#4: Leatherback Sea Turtle


Unlike most other turtles, the Leatherback Sea Turtle lacks a hard shell, but instead is protected by thick, oily – even leathery – skin. Hence the name. However, despite its lack of a bulky shell, the leatherback is the largest and heaviest extant turtle. Its front flippers alone can grow up to nearly 9 feet in span. With a wide distribution, the largest confirmed leatherback was found in Sanspit, Pakistan, measuring at just under seven feet long and weighing in at 1433 pounds! Despite their immense weight, they are almost perfectly hydro-dynamical, and incredibly graceful once in the water.

#3: Green Anaconda


When people think of big snakes, it is usually this king beast that comes to mind. While nearly as long as the reticulated python, it often has double the girth, making for a stunningly sizable snake. There is no doubt that it is something of a monster, however it is considered to be one of the most exaggerated species in terms of size, and many historical accounts are thought to be unreliable. The current maximum estimated – and verified – length is just over 17 feet, and 215 pounds. However, in the unexplored areas of the Amazonian rainforest, there is thought to be larger examples.


#2: Komodo Dragon


Also known as the Komodo Monitor, this creature is found on various Indonesian islands. A member of the family Varanidae, Komodo is the largest living lizard species, achieving maximum lengths of 10 feet, and a recorded weight of 366 pounds. Their colossal size is attributed to the island effect – wherein isolated species veer to either dwarfism or gigantism. It is also thought that the Komodo Dragon may be a relic of the Pleistocene period, surviving after all other megafauna in the area died out.



Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Gila Monster

Indigo Snake [aka Drymarchon]

Orinoco Crocodile


#1: Saltwater Crocodile


The saltwater crocodile is the largest extant reptile; and the largest river-dwelling predator on Earth. Reaching lengths of 23 feet, and weighing up to 4,400 pounds, they are roughly the size of a Great White Shark! The earliest fossil record of this croc dates from around 4.5 million years ago. With no known sub-species, it is considered an ancient species that could have diverged up to 12 million years ago. Able to live in marine environments as well as freshwater, they have the greatest distribution of any modern croc, and are the most dangerous to humans – because they’re the closest we have right to the dinosaur!

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