This month’s creature is a titan compared to its modern day cousins, but compared to its predecessors it was a dwarf. Make no mistake, the titanoboa was huge - twice as long as the largest anaconda recorded. Unfortunately there is not a lot known about this snake but I will give you all the information I can find.
The titanoboa is estimated to have been 12.8m (42ft) long, 0.9m (3ft) diameter and weigh about 1135kg (2500lb), which is extremely heavy! This makes it the largest snake ever known, defeating the gigantophis for the title. It lived 60 to 58 million years ago in the Paleocene era, so after the last dinosaur extinction. It lived in a tropical warm area which is now South America.
The titanoboa may have been a snake but with that size it did not have to be as shy or scared as modern snakes are today. It is believed it hunted like a crocodile does, mostly under water near banks waiting for its prey and then striking, wrapping around the victim and constricting it. After it killed the prey it would begin the process of swallowing it whole like modern snakes do. Also like modern snakes it could open its jaw wide to swallow large prey. It would be able to swallow the largest crocodiles alive today with ease, the titanoboa would kill at an eating contest. It is also believed to have had a dirt brown colour for its skin to help camouflage itself to with water it hunted in.
This titan of a snake was no stranger to danger, it shared the waters with a super large snapping turtle called carbonemys (which weighed about the same as titanoboa) and it is believed that these two reptiles battled for territory. That is a ring match I would pay to see! It is debated a lot about who would win in a fight, but most people think the titanoboa could not crack its shell so in the end carbonemys would win by wearing out the opponent.
There has been an exhibit in Grand Central Station, New York about the titanoboa put on display by the Smithsonian Institute. The exhibit displayed a life size model in the station designed to “scare the hell out of people” and promote the Smithsonian TV special “Titanoboa: Monster Snake.” I know it would make me need to change my underwear if I came around the corner to be face to face with a titanoboa - and I really like snakes!
With the titanic size of this snake and the idea of it fighting a titan of a snapping turtle, I nominate the Titanoboa EPIC CREATURE OF THE MONTH! I really need a monster truck announcer for that.