Largest Reptile Facts That Will Stun You

Tanya Parkhi
Jan 26, 2023 By Tanya Parkhi
Originally Published on Jan 20, 2022
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Amatullah Gulbargawala
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Reptiles come in a range of shapes and sizes

Reptiles are scaly, lung-breathing animals that can be found living on land, in freshwater bodies, and in the ocean.

They are classified into four main groups, which contain over 8,700 species! Dinosaurs which are now extinct were once the world's largest reptile species. Dinosaurs were extremely large, scaly creatures which roamed our planet millions of years ago.

Though dinosaurs do not exist anymore, there are still a number of huge scaly creatures on Earth, most of which are feared as top predator species! Many of these are found in the wild, living in marshes, wetlands, forests, grasslands, and even deserts.

Reptiles like turtles and tortoises are also some of the world's longest-living creatures! Reptiles can be found following both herbivorous and carnivorous diets, with some of them even being omnivorous in nature!

What is a reptile?

Reptiles are vertebrates that can be identified by their special type of skin. They are usually covered in thick, armored skin, scales, or bony plates. Reptiles have the characteristics of purely terrestrial animals and have lungs so they are able to breathe on land.

The largest reptile ever to roam the Earth was most likely the Argentinosaurus, which was a sauropod weighing between 110,231-220,462 lb (50,000-100,000 kg) and measuring between 100-130 ft (30-40 m) on average. On the other hand, the largest living reptile currently on our planet is the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).

This type of crocodile can measure 18 ft (5.4 m) in length!

Types Of Reptiles

There are four distinct groups of reptiles, all of which belong to separate orders.

These four groups are turtles and tortoises (order Testudines), Tuataras (order Rhynchocephalia), Crocodiles (order Crocodilia), and snakes and lizards (order Squamata). These four orders account for over 8700 species of reptiles in the world!

Different species can be found in different parts of the world, and their habitats mainly depend on the type of diet they follow.

There are four distinct groups of reptiles

What is the largest reptile?

Reptiles come in a range of shapes and sizes, from massive crocodiles and turtles to small geckos and snakes. Here are the largest reptiles in the world!

Saltwater Crocodile: The scaly saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the largest reptile in the world! It is believed to be related to the giant crocodilians that once lived on the shores of the supercontinent Gondwana, which existed around 98 million years ago!

Average adult saltwater crocodiles can weigh between 990-2200 lb (450-1000 kg), and grow up to 18 ft (5.4 m) in length! They can be found living in Australia, Asia, and the eastern part of India.

This saltwater crocodile is a formidable predator and uses its giant jaws to snap its prey up with its powerful grip, giving it no chance to escape.

It drags larger prey underwater, effectively drowning it while the prey thrashes in futile attempts to escape. What makes these crocodiles especially dangerous is that though most other wild crocodiles ignore humans, saltwater crocodiles are quite aggressive towards people and can attack unprovoked!

Nile Crocodile: A species of freshwater crocodile, the Nile crocodile, is named after its natural habitat, and can be found living along the banks of the Nile River. These crocodiles are even found on the island of Madagascar.

These carnivores are the largest reptiles in Africa, and though not as large as saltwater crocodiles, they are still very heavy, weighing 770-1650 lb (350-750 kg).

The Nile crocodile can range in length between 12-18 ft (3.6-5.4 m), making this animal look very formidable indeed. This reptile usually sustains itself on a diet of fish, however it can also occasionally eat small mammals like baby hippos, birds, other crocodiles, and even animal corpses.

Leatherback Sea Turtle: Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are the largest turtles in the world, and can be found swimming in tropical and temperate regions. Unlike other turtles that have hard outer shells, leatherback sea turtles are known for their softer, leathery shells which help to streamline them and make them swim faster.

The size of these sea turtles helps them to store more fat in their bodies, due to which they can venture deeper than other reptile species, in extremely cold waters.

They are carnivorous in nature and feed on soft-bodied creatures like jellyfish, sea anemones, and starfish. They can grow up to 6.6 ft (2 m), and weigh between 550-1320 lb (250-600 kg)!

Loggerhead Sea Turtle: The loggerhead sea turtle has a very wide range and can found in tropical and subtropical waters all over the world, mostly in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. These turtles weigh 441 lb (200 kg) on average and are quite large, measuring 3.2 ft (1 m) in length.

They feed on hard-shelled creatures like mollusks and crustaceans and use their strong teeth to crush them. They also feed on jellyfish and algae.

Green Anaconda: The green anaconda is the world's largest snake, and also the heaviest. It can weigh over 500 lb (227 kg), and grow over 29 ft (8.8 m) in length, though the average measurements are 17 ft (5.2 m) and 154 lb (70 kg)!

The green anaconda is usually found in South America and is non-venomous in nature.

Rather than biting its prey, it wraps itself around ot and squeezes the animal to death like all other boa constrictors.

It is primarily aquatic in nature, and its diet consists of amphibians like frogs, fish, birds, small mammals, and even other reptiles. These snakes may take on larger prey as they grow, using their long bodies to wrap around them with ease.

Reticulated Python: One of the largest snakes in the world, the reticulated python is native to southern and southeastern parts of Asia. It is non-venomous but has been known to kill and eat large prey, and even humans in a few cases, by wrapping around its prey and suffocating it with its body.

This reptile mainly feeds on mammals and birds, like rats, bats, civets, pigs, and deer. This type of python typically measures between 5-21.3 ft (1.5-6.5 m) and weighs around 2-165 lb (1-75 kg).

Galápagos Tortoise: The Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) can be found on the Galápagos islands in the Pacific Ocean, and is the world's largest tortoise species! These tortoises are also some of the longest-living reptiles, and can live for over 100 years naturally!

They weigh around 390 lb (176 kg) and can grow up to 5 ft (1.5 m). Their long lives are credited to their healthy herbivorous diets and extremely slow metabolisms, which slows down aging drastically.

Other notable large reptiles are the komodo dragon, black caiman, gharial, slender-snouted crocodile, orinoco crocodile, green sea turtle, and Aldabra giant tortoise.

Where do reptiles live?

Reptiles can be found all around the Earth, living on almost every continent except Antarctica. Depending on the reptile species, these creatures can be found in a large variety of habitats, ranging from dry deserts, shady forests, wetlands, and even water bodies like lakes, rivers, and ponds!

Though some species of reptiles do live in water bodies, they have not adapted to actually spending all of their time in the water which means that they have to come out to breathe with their lungs.

Reptiles like the green sea turtle and leatherback sea turtle primarily live in water. Their lungs are specially programmed so that they do not have to take in air as often.

Reptiles like the komodo dragon, Aldabra giant tortoise, and non-venomous boa constrictor stay firmly on land. On the other hand, animals like the gharial, slender-snouted crocodile, black caiman, orinoco crocodile and saltwater crocodile are able to live on land and in the water, using their lungs to breathe.

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Written by Tanya Parkhi

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya Parkhi picture

Tanya ParkhiBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.

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Fact-checked by Amatullah Gulbargawala

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in the Language Arts

Amatullah Gulbargawala picture

Amatullah GulbargawalaBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in the Language Arts

Amatullah is a passionate student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education from Ashoka College of Education. With a keen interest in literature, she has excelled in elocution competitions and is an accomplished writer. She has completed courses like "History of English Language and Literature", "Introduction to Western Political Thought and Theory", and "Development of Soft Skills and Personality". In her free time, Amatullah enjoys reading books and writing poetry.

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