10 Largest Reptiles in the World

Written by Emilio Brown
Updated: November 11, 2022
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Key Points

  • Reptiles can be found on every continent except Antarctica and have adapted to survive in even extremely harsh environments.
  • Some species are able to thrive thanks to their impressive sizes, sometimes growing several times larger than an average human.
  • Saltwater crocodiles are the largest known reptile alive today and commonly grow to around 20 feet long.

Dinosaurs were the largest reptiles to roam the planet. Today, many giant reptiles are related to and remind us of those curious creatures. Currently, crocodiles are the largest reptiles on Earth, but a variety of other reptiles can grow to mind-blowing sizes.

Reptiles, animals of the class Reptilia, encompass turtles, crocodilians, scaled lizards, and tuatara. Reptiles are found in various environments on every continent, excluding Antarctica. They can survive extreme climates and conditions with some seriously cool adaptations. These dinosaur-like animals can also grow to considerable sizes, much larger than humans. Find out which reptiles take pride as the 10 largest in the world!

Komodo Dragon

Komodo dragon is on the ground.
Komodo Dragons grow between 7.5 to 8.5 feet ( 2.2 to 2.5 meters) long and weigh between 150 to 200 pounds (68 to 90.7 kg).

GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock.com

Lizards are one of the most abundant, and diverse groups of reptiles, and the Komodo Dragons are the largest of them all. Komodo Dragons grow between 7.5 to 8.5 feet ( 2.2 to 2.5 meters) long and weigh between 150 to 200 pounds (68 to 90.7 kg). Males are the larger of the sexes, and the largest Komodo dragon ever recorded was 10.2 feet long, and was 365 lbs large. 

Komodo dragons are monitor lizards and are effective hunters like the other species in their family. Their size, teeth, venom, and aggressive nature make them one of the most dangerous lizards in the world.

One feature that Komodo dragons have similar to other monitor lizards is the ability to breathe while running, which helps them run down their prey. This trait is something most other lizards can’t do, and they are also native to Indonesia.

Green Sea Turtle

largest reptiles
The largest of green sea turtles weighed 871 lbs and was 5 feet long, which is as large as some crocodiles.

Green sea turtles are one of the largest reptiles in the world and are also the second-largest turtle species. They grow between 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) and weigh between 300 to 350 lbs (136 to 158 kg). The largest of green sea turtles weighed 871 lbs and was 5 feet long, which is as large as some crocodiles.

As one of the most well-known turtle species, green sea turtles spend most of their life in the ocean. They feed on aquatic plants near the shores but will travel to land during the breeding season. Green sea turtles are capable of living up to 70 years and are endangered due to overhunting. Normally green sea turtles are found near the shore in tropical waters. 

Gharial 

Gharial

Greverod / Creative Commons – License

Gharials are a large species of crocodilian, with a large elongated snout. On average they weigh 350 lbs (158 kg) and have a length between 8 to 20 ft. Males are larger than females, this species lives in the freshwaters of northern India. The long snout of the gharials is helpful for swimming in the water, and they are able to slightly tolerate water with high salinity. 

Fish are the preferred food for this animal, but they are also able to eat other aquatic life like crustaceans, and frogs. Their long snout is good at catching prey, but they are not usually deadly to humans. 

Green Anaconda 

Biggest Snakes: The Green Anaconda
The Green Anaconda give birth to live young, that are about two feet long when they are born.

Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com

The green anaconda is one of the largest snakes in the world when accounting for weight and length. Green anacondas on average grow between 9.8 to 15 ft (2.9 to 4.5 meters), with females being the larger of the sexes. Each snake will vary by weight, but the largest green anaconda ever recorded weighs 550 lbs (227 kilograms), making them the heaviest snake species currently. 

Native to the environment of the tropical rainforest in South America, green anacondas are invasive in some tropical areas of the world like Florida.

Green anacondas are often kept as pets but can be dangerous because of their large size and capability to constrict animals. The green anaconda is one of the longest snakes in the world but is beaten by the slightly longer reticulated python

Galapagos Tortoise 

Galapagos tortoise stands on legs.
Female Galapagos tortoises are smaller but are still on average around 250 lbs (113 kg). 

FOTOGRIN/Shutterstock.com

The Galapagos tortoise is the largest turtle in the world, and they inhabit the Galapagos Islands. Males are the larger sex and can weigh more than 500 lbs (227 kilograms). The largest ever recorded weighed more than 880 lbs (39.9 kg), and measured more than 6 feet. Female Galapagos tortoises are smaller but are still on average around 250 lbs (113 kg). 

The destruction of its habitat and poaching by humans is why these giant tortoises are endangered and rare. Around 15,000 are alive today, and conservation efforts like breeding in captivity are how this species is being preserved. 

American Alligators

Largest Alligators
The American alligator, which keeps on growing throughout its life, can grow up to 11.2 feet long and weigh nearly half a ton.

Mia2you/Shutterstock.com

American alligators are the largest reptile in North America and are threatened in the region it lives in. They look similar to other crocodilians and can grow up to 12 feet in length (3.6 meters). Adult males are the largest type of American alligator and can weigh more than 500 lbs. 

American alligators live in the southeast wetlands, marshes, rivers, lakes, and everglade-type habitats. They live in freshwater, and can only tolerate water with higher salt waters for a short period. American alligators are large with sharp teeth. Attacks from them have been deadly in areas where they can be found. 

Orinoco Crocodiles

largest reptiles
The Orinoco crocodile is the third-largest crocodile species in the world.

slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.com

Orinoco crocodiles are a large freshwater crocodile species. Males grow to around 16 feet and weigh about 800 lbs (380kg), while females weigh around 500 lbs (225kg).

This species is found in Columbia and Venezuela. It inhabits slow-moving freshwater habitats like swamps and lagoons. This species is named after the Orinoco Basin in South America since that is where it commonly lived. Used for their teeth, meat, and skin, they have been hunted to near extinction in their range. Orinoco crocodiles are now critically endangered, with around 250 to 1500 left in the wild in the current decade. 

Leatherback Sea Turtle 

Baby Leatherback Turtle Going to the Surf
Taking care of itself from birth, this baby Leatherback turtle makes its way to the surf.

IrinaK/Shutterstock.com

Leatherback sea turtles are the largest sea turtle in the world and are capable of weighing up to 2,000 lbs. This species lives in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans, and is capable of swimming in depths of 4,000 feet (1,219) in the ocean. Leatherback sea turtles on average grow between 6 to 7.2 ft. (1.8 to 2.1 meters), and males are the larger of the two sexes. As the largest sea turtle in the world, they are known for their smooth, leather-like back. 

Their large size is what helps them survive in the ocean’s cold water, and have fat to maintain heat. Leatherback turtles are also one of the most migratory turtle species and will move over 10,000 miles (16093 km) a year. Listed as an endangered species, leatherback sea turtles have been slowly declining in their population. Poaching and habitat loss are the main reasons why leatherback sea turtles have been losing their population.

Nile Crocodile 

A Nile Crocodile seen on a safari in South Africa
A Nile Crocodile seen on a safari in South Africa

Rudi Hulshof/Shutterstock.com

Nile crocodiles are the second-largest reptiles in the world and also the second-largest crocodilian species. This species of crocodile lives throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Nile Basin. This giant is a dangerous predator on its land and feeds on fish, zebras, giraffes, and other animals that come near the water. Nile crocodiles are one of the most dangerous reptiles in the world, and new evidence shows this species may even be found in the U.S and are an invasive species in the Florida everglades. 

In 1905, the largest Nile crocodile ever recorded, growing 21.2 feet long and weighed between 2,300 to 2,400 lbs, showing how large this crocodile could get. On average, Nile crocodiles grow between 7.9 to 14 feet and weigh around 500 to 1,700 lbs. As one of the largest reptiles in the world, they are also one of the most dangerous. It is estimated that they kill more than 100 people a year. 

Saltwater Crocodile

largest reptiles
A huge Saltwater Crocodile basks in the hot Australian sun. Saltwater crocodiles are the largest crocodile species and also the largest living reptile in the world.

PomInOz/Shutterstock.com

The saltwater crocodile is the largest of all the crocodile species and is the largest reptile in the world. On average, saltwater crocodiles are the largest crocodilian species, but sizes will vary. A crocodile’s size can vary due to sex, living conditions, species, and the types of food available to them. 

Males are the largest saltwater crocodiles and regularly grow around 20 to 21 feet (6 to 6.3 meters).  The biggest saltwater crocodile ever recorded was Lolong, who measured 20.3 feet (6.17 meters) and weighed 2,370 lbs (1,075 kg). 

Saltwater crocodiles are the largest crocodile, but other species can occasionally get close to the size of this monster. This species lives in Southeast Asia, eastern India, and parts of Australia. They inhabit freshwaters and get their name from their ability to swim in and tolerate salt and brackish waters. Being the largest reptile in the world, they are also one of the world’s fiercest predators. 

Summary: 10 Largest Reptiles in the World

RankReptileAverage Size
10Komodo Dragon7.5-8.5 feet and 150-200 lbs
9Green Sea Turtle3-4 feet and 300-350 lbs
8Gharial8-20 feet and 350 lbs
7Green AnacondaUp to 30 feet and 550 lbs
6Galapagos Turtle6 feet and 250-500+ lbs
5American Alligator12 feet and 500+ lbs
4Orinoco Crocodile16 feet and 500-800 lbs
3Leatherback Sea Turtle6-7.2 feet and up to 2000 lbs
2Nile Crocodile7.9-14 feet and 500-1700 lbs
1Saltwater Crocodile20-21 feet and 1000 lbs

Up next…

Many of us see animals around us every day and most are smaller than we are. However, animals can grow up to monstrous sizes that would surprise anyone! Read on to find out some of these giant species:

Largest Reptiles in the world
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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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