When you think of snakes you may be most concerned about whether the snake is venomous or not. Rattlesnakes in the United States are very venomous; the Black Mamba is an extremely venomous snake in southern Africa. But what about the strongest snakes? Snakes that can wrap around a 150 pound hyena and crush it with their strong constricting muscles. National Geographic caught just such an incident on camera which is the largest prey ever recorded being eaten by a snake. The strong snake in that case was an African rock python. But is the python the strongest snake in the world? Let’s look at the 8 strongest snakes in the world.
What is the strongest snake in the world?
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers David A. Penning and Brad R. Moon measured how strong constrictor snakes are. They tested 6 different species of snake and found that although all six species had similar muscle structure the kingsnakes exerted more force. They reported, “kingsnakes exerted significantly higher pressures on their prey than ratsnakes.” The six snakes that were in the study include:
- California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae)
- Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
- Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki)
- Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis)
- Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)
- Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoletus)
Our list will definitely include some of the kingsnakes from the study as well as some larger constrictor snakes that have proven to be some of the strongest snakes in the world.
The common kingsnake is one tough animal. Sometimes called the Eastern kingsnake they are not afraid to take on larger snakes or venomous snakes! They are shiny black snakes with yellow to white bands mixed with speckles. The researchers found that these snakes are the strongest snakes compared with the ratsnakes because the force at which they are able to squeeze and hold onto their prey is so strong. It was once thought that constrictor snakes squeezed their prey to prevent them from breathing but it has been found that they restrict the blood flow, causing a quicker death. The Common Kingsnake can get to be 3-5 feet long but will often kill snakes that are even longer. They will kill and eat cottonmouths, copperheads and rattlesnakes. Kingsnakes are immune to the venom of these snakes.
The California Kingsnake is a black and white snake with alternating bands. They can be found in California and along the west coast states down to Mexico. Most are about 3 ½ feet long but some can get to be 5 feet or more. They are frequently found in desert, forests and grasslands but are also kept as pets (if you’re into snakes). Besides other snakes they will eat rodents, turtles and lizards. They wrap their strong bodies around their prey and then swallow them whole.
The speckled kingsnake is another species of super strong constrictor snakes. As their name suggests they have a speckled appearance and are black with yellow to cream speckles and bars along their backs. They get to be around 4 feet long and weigh 3-5 pounds. This species can be found in the Midwest, from Iowa to Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and parts of Texas. Compared to the common kingsnakes, the speckled ones prefer to stay on the ground and are not good at climbing trees. This makes it easier for them to find and kill other snakes (including venomous ones) frogs, lizards and rodents.
The Eastern ratsnake was not as strong as the kingsnakes but they are still powerful constrictors. The Eastern ratsnake is larger than the kingsnake but kingsnakes can kill and eat ratsnakes. A quick internet search will pull-up some interesting videos of just such an act. The Eastern ratsnake, sometimes called the chicken snakes because they are known to swallow chicken eggs whole, another fun internet search! Eastern ratsnakes can get to be 7 feet long and are all black or dark gray in color. Their bellies are cream colored. This species can be found along the Eastern Coast of the US, ratsnakes in general are located all over the world except Antarctica.
With the word “constrictor” in its name you know these snakes mean business. They are some of the strongest snakes in the world and are significantly larger than kingsnakes. Kingsnakes may pick fights with larger snakes but they can’t mess with a full grown boa constrictor. Boa constrictors are a thick-bodied snake too with an average weight of 20-30 pounds but some reportedly getting to be 100 pounds. They are an average of 8-10 feet with some reaching 12 feet or more. The longest boa constrictor ever caught was an 18 footer! Boas can wrap their strong bodies around small mammals like squirrels, opossums and rabbits. A large rabbit dinner can be enough food for a month as the snake slowly digests the whole rabbit over time regurgitating some of the bones and fur.
Bigger than a boa, the Burmese python can grow to be 200 pounds! They are a huge thick-bodied snake that is 18-20 feet long, with some being longer. They are native to Asia, in India, China and Vietnam but they have also been introduced to the southern tip of Florida and several breeding populations live there… causing trouble. These strong snakes can take down even larger prey and have wiped out the rabbit population in the Everglades as well as killing almost all of the raccoons, opossum and bobcats. An adult bobcat can get to be 40 pounds and Burmese pythons are strong enough to kill them!
The Green Anaconda is the largest snake in the world! It is just a tad bigger than the Python and is certainly one of the strongest snakes. Green Anacondas can get to be 20-30 feet long and weigh as much as 550 pounds! Amazing! They are not native to the United States but live in Central America. They are olive green in color with black splotches all over. The largest and maybe strongest, anaconda ever was a 33 foot long, 850 pound that surprised a construction crew in Brazil.
African Rock Python
A snake that is strong enough to capture and eat a 150 pound hyena has to be one of the strongest snakes in the world. National Geographic was there to video tape this amazing feat. African rock pythons are typically 10-16 feet long and weigh an average of 70-120 pounds with some getting to be 200 pounds. You might be surprised by how quickly these large muscular snakes wrap themselves around their prey and squeeze with enormous force. Imagine how long a 150 pound dinner will last, maybe months before he needs to eat again!
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