Reptiles are not the most cute nor cuddly creatures on earth. Their size is no indication of their risk or safety. The most venomous snakes on earth are not the largest. However among the largest reptiles are Crocodiles, Cobras and Pythons and these are the most dangerous reptilian predators on the planet.
Crocodiles are arguably the largest living reptile in the world and adult males can grow to over seven meters long and weigh in at four hundred kilograms.
Estuarine crocodiles comb the brackish waters from Northern Australia through Indonesia, Malaysia to Eastern India. They are just as comfortable in fresh water rivers and swamps and that can place them dangerously close to towns and villages.
Despite their size the estuarine crocodiles are stealthy as most hunt from below the surface of the water. Only their eyes and nostrils are visible while the rest of their bodies remain hidden and then with just one thrust of their muscular tails they reveal themselves and launch out of the water on top of their prey. Even the largest of prey like bullocks are no match for these ambush hunters and their death roll.
The king cobra is one of the our largest reptiles. They can stretch up to the five to six meters making them the longest venomous snake on the planet. To put this in perspective, the Cobra stretches longer than a car and can stand higher than a human.
It injects a torrent of toxins with just one bite. The cobra’s neurotoxic venomous bite is not as toxic as other snakes but what it lacks in toxicity it makes up in volume. It can inject 200 to 500 milligrams per bite. Only 12 mg are needed to kill a human. The toxins immediately attack the nervous system, shutting down to respiratory function and killing in just minutes.
The Cobra has the reputation of being one of the world’s smartest, most intelligent snakes. Instead of biting it will bear its fangs like a dog to scare off any adversary. When threatened, it can lift the top third of its body and look a man in the eye. Those undeterred can suddenly find themselves staring into the serpents eyes. Fortunately it is smart enough to avoid humans. Encounters a rare and recorded deaths are low.
The Cobra is a fierce predator and can be found in North Eastern India and South East Asia. It is active day and night preying upon birds lizards and small mammals.
Surprisingly, the favorite food of the Cobra is other snakes. As a matter of fact its scientific name translates into snake eater. The giant Cobra consumes its meal whole, capable of stretching its jaws far enough apart to swallow prey larger than itself.
Pythons are the biggest and most powerful serpents in the world. Two giant pythons are the Indian Rock and the Burmese Python.
The Indian Rock is four meters long and weighs one hundred and fifty kilograms. This snake thrives in jungles from India through to China and throughout South East Asia. The Burmese Python is six meters long and has a diameter equal in size to a man’s waist.
They do not kill with venom but with strength. They hunt on land and in the water. Their prey include deer and monkeys. They thrive in marshy aquatic habitats where they can remain hidden beneath the surface as they stalk their prey from beneath the water.
On land, the python hone in on their prey using another adaptation, a heat sensing organ located on the upper lip. This enables the python to lock in on its prey before its attack. Its strike is lightning fast. It seizes its prey with razor sharp backward facing teeth to hold the captured animal in place.
The teeth of the python are designed so that the more the captured animal tries to pull away, the deeper the python teeth sinks in. Once secure the python coils its body around its victim constricting its grip tighter and tighter until the life is literally squeezed out of it. The creature dies of asphyxiation. The giant reptile then devours its meal whole.
These three creatures are the largest and most dangerous reptilian predators found anywhere in the world. All kill with their extreme size and strength. Writing about these powerful freaks of nature reminds me of a joke. What does a two thousand pound canary eat? Answer… anything it wants!
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