Discover the Largest Venomous Snake Ever: 3X Bigger than a King Cobra!

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: January 11, 2023
© reptiles4all/
Share this post on:
Think You Know Snakes?
Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Key Points

  • Not much is known about Laophis crotaloides and the single fossil discovered cannot tell us enough to figure out the monster’s venom type, only that we do know that it is a viper.
  • Garter snakes are 23 and 30 inches long but still aren’t as long as the Laophis crotaloides.
  • Tiger rattlesnakes are named for their tiger-like patterns. They are known to be one of the deadliest snakes in Northern America yet they aren’t as deadly as the Laophis crotaloides.

You probably know that the king cobra is the largest venomous snake known to man- but what if this isn’t entirely true? It all began in 1857 – British paleontologist Richard Owen discovered 13 fossils which led him to publish his findings of a new species of viper which he claimed to be the largest ever!

However, Owen’s findings got lost in time until 157 years later! A single fossil was rediscovered near Thessaloniki, northern Greece, giving credibility to Richard Owen’s discovery many years ago. Discover the largest venomous snake ever. A tip – it’s 3x bigger than a king cobra.

What is the Largest Venomous Snake Ever?

laophis crotaloides
The largest venomous viper is the Laophis crotaloides which was first discovered in 1857.

©Richard Owen / public domain

62,907 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

In 1857, Richard Owen, who had derived the word “dinosaur” described an unbelievable finding. Owen claimed to have found 13 fossil vertebrae near Thessaloniki, Greece. He named the species Laophis crotaloides.

From its fossils, Owen was not only able to determine its size and weight but also what snake family it belonged to. He stated that the Laophis crotaloides was a viper that weighed 57 pounds and measured between 10 and 13 feet in length.

King cobras, which are currently recognized as the largest venomous snake species can grow up to 18 feet but hardly exceed 20 pounds in weight. Consequently, it is safe to say that king cobras are close to only a third of Laophis crotaloides weight.

Laophis crotaloides lived in Greece (and perhaps other parts of the world) about 4 million years ago. This means that they inhabited areas with grasslands, thick vegetation, and cold weather. Considering the fact that most snakes today hibernate through winter and only come out when the weather is warm, it is astounding how Laophis crotaloides survived and grew to such size.

Where Did They Live?

Laois crotaloides is an extinct species of snake, which lived in Greece (and possibly other parts of the world) around 4 million years ago. The remains of Laois crotaloides were first discovered in Greece in 1892, and since then there has been further research into its existence and range. Today, it is believed that Laois crotaloides may have also lived outside of Greece during this time period but due to lack of evidence this still remains uncertain.

Laophis Crotaloides Venom

Not much is known about Laophis crotaloides and sadly, the single fossil discovered cannot tell us enough to figure out the monster’s venom type. However, we do know that it is a viper and safely assume that it had venom similar to many vipers today.

Generally, vipers have venom filled with enzymatic and nonenzymatic proteins. Usually, their venom attacks tissues and causes death- if the venom is strong enough and left untreated. It also causes necrosis and coagulopathy- not to mention the intense pain and swelling that accompany viper bites. They also have long hollow solenoglyphous fangs that allow them to inject their venom like one would use a hypodermic needle.

Laophis Crotaloides Diet

Laophis crotaloides probably fed on small mammals.

©Save nature and wildlife/

Georgios Georgalis, a study researcher believes that these snakes fed very similarly to snakes today. Even though the snake lived among some really large animals, he believes it fed on a diet of small mammals such as rodents. Georgalis also presented findings of the Laophis crotaloides to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Berlin on the 6th of November, 2014.

Laophis Crotaloides vs Other Snake Species

Without a doubt, the Laophis crotaloides is one of the largest venomous snakes ever discovered. You already know how it compares to the king cobra in size. But how does it compare to other snake species?  Let’s take a look at 8 large snake species compared to the Laophis crotaloides.

Laophis Crotaloides vs Largest Garter Snake Ever Recorded

garter snake slithering on rocks
Laophis crotaloides were longer than garter snakes.


Garter snakes are harmless snakes. They have venom that is only dangerous to their prey. These snakes are usually medium-sized, measuring between 23 and 30 inches. The largest garter snake ever discovered measured 52.8 inches (4.4 feet). This makes them tiny compared to Laophis crotaloides.

Generally, garter snakes have easy-going temperaments and are often kept as pets, unlike venomous pit vipers. You can identify these snakes by their varying colors and patterns. They are some of the most beautiful snakes known to man.

Laophis Crotaloides vs Largest Tiger Rattlesnake Ever Discovered

Tiger rattlesnake with large rattle
Laophis crotaloides were longer than tiger rattlesnakes.

©Vladislav T. Jirousek/

Tiger rattlesnakes are named for their tiger-like patterns. They are known to be one of the deadliest snakes in Northern America. Tiger rattlesnakes inject only about 11 mg of dried venom in each bite. This is much lower than other snakes.

However, it is still life-threatening and capable of killing a person. Despite this, it is still incredibly potent and life-threatening. On average, these snakes measure 24 inches. However, the largest specimen of tiger rattlesnake discovered measured 35.9 inches (3 feet).

Laophis Crotaloides vs Largest Hognose Snake Ever Discovered

hognose snake curled up in grass
Laophis crotaloides were longer than hognose snakes.


Hognose snakes are popular for their weird noses and their dramatic attitudes. They are usually sand-brown markings of varying colors. These snakes are nonvenomous and measure 2 to 4 feet on average. They are known to attain a maximum length of 6 feet.

Laophis Crotaloides vs Largest Anaconda Ever Discovered

Green anaconda
Anacondas were longer and heavier than Laophis crotaloides.


Anacondas are known for their sizes and length. Consequently, there are several reports that claim to have discovered the largest specimen. However, the largest and most verifiable claim points to a 27.7 feet long anaconda that weighed over 500 pounds.

Laophis Crotaloides vs Largest Blood Python Ever Discovered

Red Blood Python / Python curtus brongersmai

©dwi putra stock/

Blood pythons are nonvenomous snakes found in various parts of the world. On average, they weigh 4 to 6 pounds. However, the largest blood python ever discovered weighed over 50 pounds and measured about 10 feet.

Laophis Crotaloides vs Largest Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Ever Discovered

Large eastern diamondback rattlesnake
Laophis Crotaloides were longer than eastern diamondback rattlesnakes.

©Chase D’animulls/

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a man, identified by only the singular name Rutledge holds the record for the largest eastern diamondback rattlesnake. The snake was caught in 1946 and measured 7 feet, 8 inches while weighing 34 pounds. On average, eastern diamondbacks weigh 4 to 5 pounds and measure 4 to 5 feet.

Laophis Crotaloides vs Largest Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Ever Discovered

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
Laophis Crotaloides were longer than western diamondback rattlesnakes.

©Alexander Wong/

Western diamondback rattlesnakes are some of the most venomous species known to man. They are usually colored with mixtures of brown, yellow, brick red, or yellowish/pinkish-white. On average, these animals measure 4 feet but may reach 5 feet. The largest western diamondback rattlesnake ever discovered was 7 feet and 8 inches in length.

Laophis Crotaloides vs Largest Burmese Python Ever Discovered

Burmese Python hanging in a tree, waiting for prey.
Burmese python.

©Heiko Kiera/

The largest Burmese python ever discovered was found in the Everglades, Florida. It measured 18-feet, 9-inches, and weighed 104 pounds! It was captured by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Discover the "Monster" Snake 5X Bigger than an Anaconda

Every day A-Z Animals sends out some of the most incredible facts in the world from our free newsletter. Want to discover the 10 most beautiful snakes in the world, a "snake island" where you're never more than 3 feet from danger, or a "monster" snake 5X larger than an anaconda? Then sign up right now and you'll start receiving our daily newsletter absolutely free.

Up Next:

More from A-Z Animals

The Featured Image

Closeup of Jamaican boa
A nonvenomous species endemic to Jamaica, this snake is not aggressive.
© reptiles4all/

Share this post on:

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.