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Giant Anacondas and Other Super-Sized Cryptozoological Snakes

Posted by: Karl Shuker on September 19th, 2013

During the 1920s, Raymond L. Ditmars, Curator of Reptiles at New York’s Bronx Zoo, offered US $1000 to anyone who could provide conclusive evidence for the existence of a snake measuring over 40 ft (12.2 m) long. The prize has never been claimed.

Giant snake, 1867, The Bestiarium of Aloys Zötl 1831-1887

Yet there are many extraordinary eyewitness accounts on record asserting that gargantuan serpents far greater in length than anything ever confirmed by science are indeed a frightening reality in various regions of the world, as demonstrated by the fascinating selection of examples documented here.

Further information can be obtained here on my ShukerNature blog.

Karl Shuker About Karl Shuker
My name is Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. I am a zoologist (BSc & PhD), media consultant, and the author of 20 books and hundreds of articles, specialising in cryptozoology and animal mythology. I have a BSc (Honours) degree in pure zoology from the University of Leeds (U.K.), and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). I have acted jointly as consultant and major contributor to three multi-author volumes on cryptozoology and other mysterious phenomena. I am the Life Sciences Consultant to The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (Guinness: London, 1997-present day), and was consultant to Monsters (Lorenz Books: London, 2001), as well as a contributor to Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998), Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999), The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000), and Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: London, 2007). I appear regularly on television & radio, was a consultant for the Discovery TV series Into the Unknown, and a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind. I am a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, and the Cryptozoology Consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ). I have written articles for numerous publications, including Fortean Times, The X Factor, Paranormal Magazine, FATE, Strange Magazine, Prediction, Beyond, Uri Geller's Encounters, Phenomena, Alien Encounters, Wild About Animals, All About Cats, All About Dogs, Cat World, etc. In 2005, I was honoured by the naming of a new species of loriciferan invertebrate after me - Pliciloricus shukeri.


10 Responses to “Giant Anacondas and Other Super-Sized Cryptozoological Snakes”

  1. cryptokellie responds:

    Key word here is “Eyewitness” as in story told. But I don’t doubt that snakes as large as 40 ft. long do exist as they have already existed in the past. One has to be caught, that’s all.

  2. Goodfoot responds:

    A pathetic $1000. To get close to a 40-foot snake! Thanks for the offer, but no thank you…

  3. mandors responds:

    There was a 49 foot python supposedly captured in Indonesia. The story looks to originate from 2003, and has been reported.

    Found this video:

  4. corrick responds:

    “A pathetic $1000.”

    Worth about $20,000 today, not to mention the celebrity and potential $ gain. Don’t think Walmart, think Lindbergh.

    And prehistoric snakes lived when our atmosphere was far different than today. Check out how big dragonflies got 350 million years ago.

    Given human intervention the 30+ ft snake of 1750 is far more likely than the 30+ snake of 2013. I’m no expert, but John C. Murphy is. Just retired from the Field Museum. The recognized world expert on “giant snakes.”

  5. Goodfoot responds:

    I said that, not Craig Woolheater. Your question should have been addressed to me. And yeah, someone’s gonna pack up an expedition and fly wherever, for a $20,000 reward. Thanks, you just made my statement live, corrick.

  6. volmar responds:

    Giant Anacondas, much bigger than the ones known by scientists, really exist in the Amazon. One can’t compare them to the insects of the Carboniferous period, those insects grew so big because of the large amounts of oxygen in the athmosfere; Snakes, on the other hand, grow untill they die. In the Amazon Basin, where I saw natives keeping small Anacondas as if they were cats (to keep rodents away), the really huge ones are killed on sight. They are dangerous to children and even adults. That prevents most of them reaching bigger sizes, but there must be a few, at any given time, big enough to be the next world longest snake. The problem is where. The Amazon Basin is bigger than the continentaol US and not very hospitable. Finding a snake there, even a huge one, is like finding a needle on a haystack.

  7. Goodfoot responds:

    “The Amazon Basin is bigger than the continental US and not very hospitable”

    Although the Continental U.S. is not all that hospitable either, your statement is in error. The Amazon Basin is about 2.7 million square miles, while the Continental United States comes in at 3.1 million square miles. The nation of Brazil, where the lion’s share of the Amazon Basin is, is about 91% the size of the United States.

  8. NMRNG responds:

    I’ve seen photographic proof of a reticulated python that was about 35-40′ long.

    My great uncle served in the Philippines during WWII and had some sort of role as a liaison with some of the indigenous peoples who lived a rather subsistence lifestyle in the jungle. They took him hunting several times and he told me about how they had shot and eaten monkeys and he had a photo of giant fruit bats they shot with at least a 5′ wingspan (just looked them upon Wikipedia – they’re now endangered, hope they tasted good, dear Uncle). When I was around 13, old enough to appreciate distance and perspective, he showed me photos from a python hunt he went on with the locals. They killed a big one fairly near to the US camp where there was a Seabee crane and they brought it back and stretched it out hanging from the crane. They elevated the crane fully (near vertical), roping on the python by the head so that maybe 3′ of it dangled below the level of the crane top and around 1/3 of it was lying on the ground. My uncle wasn’t positive on the crane’s height but thought it was a 25′ crane, which I think is accurate because there was a US soldier standing next to the crane in the photo and the crane was at least 4x his height. He also had a photo taken shortly thereafter of one of the native hunters carrying a segment of the snake, after they butchered it into smaller, more portable pieces, that was about 4-5′ long – it was around 18″ in diameter.

    When my great uncle’s wife died before I was born, he basically had an emotional breakdown, retired early and became mostly a recluse and hermit on his farm – at the time of his death, there was a forest with 8-10″ trees on land he once farmed. He became a bit of a packrat, as well, did not keep up with much of anything, and by the time he died around a decade ago, his house was an utter mess. My dad was executor of his estate and I asked him to see if he could find his uncle’s photos from the Philippines, but in all of the mess, he could not locate them. The guy who bought the land from the estate took a bulldozer to the house, with most of the contents still in it, and carted it off by the truck-full to a landfill, so unfortunately, those photos are permanently lost.

    On the topics of giant snakes and my family, my great uncle’s older sister, my grandmother, told a story of seeing a black rat snake (probably a Western Rat Snake) crossing a dirt road in Michigan when she was a child in the 1920′s. She said it was so large that even when its body was rippling as it moved forward, and was not stretched out to its full length, there was still several feet of its tail on the one side of the road after its head reached the other side. My grandmother thought the road was at least 10′ wide. That would make it probably 4′ longer than the accepted longest native North American snake.

  9. volmar responds:

    @Goodfoot Brazil is only one out of some ten countries with parts of the Amazon Basin, and you’re obviously counting Alaska, which I’m not… Take Alaska off and do the math again.

  10. Goodfoot responds:

    Volmar: I said I was leaving, and I am. But look it up before you call me wrong.

    The Amazon Basin occurs in 7 countries, and is 2,670,000 square miles.

    The contiguous United States is 48 states, and is 3,119,884.69 square miles in area.

    You could have looked this up yourself, but you insisted on calling me out on it as being wrong. I was not wrong.



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