At some point in history, long before the evolution of humans, animals that were bigger than our imaginations existed and ruled the earth and the seas. If you think the reptiles that live now are huge, you should see the ones from those times.
The largest crocodile to ever exist was the Sarcosuchus imperator, otherwise called the Sarcosuchus. These giant reptiles were the largest crocodiles to have ever lived on the planet, residing in an area that is now recognized as part of Africa and South America. These bad boys lived during the Early Cretaceous Period (about 95 to 115 million years ago). Another reptile that battled for the title of the largest reptile ever to exist was the Titanoboa, the largest snake ever to live. These snakes lived in the latter part of the Paleocene epoch– 58 to 60 million years ago.
Now, imagine these two enormous reptiles to ever exist in a fight; which do you think would win? Let’s carefully examine our facts and find out the winner of this epic battle.
Comparing a Sarcosuchus and a Titanoboa
Nicknamed “super croc,” the Sarcosuchus grew between 29.5 to 31.2 feet long. Sarcosuchus grew steadily throughout its life, unlike modern-day crocodiles, which stopped growing at a certain age. These reptiles weighed between 3.5 and 4.3 metric tons on average. Despite these enormous sizes, there is evidence that some of these crocodiles were capable of reaching lengths of up to 40 feet and had lengthy snouts that made up as much as 75% of their skulls. Like most crocodiles that existed before and after it, the Sarcosuchus had thick skin covered in scales, short legs, and a muscular tail that helped it swim better. Their upper jaw had 35 teeth on each side, and their lower jaw had 31 teeth on each side. They had an overbite that let some of the crocodile’s dental structure show since their top jaws were much longer than their lower ones.
The Titanoboa was as large as the Sarcosuchus, even larger in most cases. These snakes could grow as long as 42 feet, which is even more than the length of two anacondas combined. There is even enough evidence to prove that a few of these snakes grew as long as 50 feet. The Titanoboa was a boa constrictor that was three feet wide and weighed 2500 pounds which is well over a ton. These snakes had brown or gray skin, making it easy for them to camouflage themselves. They spent most of their time in tropical rainforests, hiding in swamps and rivers. Experts believe that the Titanoboa could hold its breath underwater for a few hours at a stretch, making it easy for it to just sit underwater without much trouble.
What are the Key Differences Between a Sarcosuchus and a Titanoboa?
The first obvious difference is that while they are both reptiles, the Sarcosuchus is a crocodile, and the Titanoboa is a snake. Like most crocodiles, the Sarcosuchus had scales all over from head to tail. The scales on its tail were stronger than the rest of its body, making it easy for the croc to knock its prey down with its tail. Their jaws were wide enough and their teeth sharp to crush their prey without much struggle; their size made it easy for them to be some of the deadliest apex predators. These crocodiles liked to spend their time in freshwater habitats, meaning they had a lot of prey to choose from.
On the other hand, the Titanoboa did not have scales. Instead, this snake had really thick skin that was almost impossible to penetrate. The Titanoboa blended beautifully in because of its brown skin, which was ideal for camouflaging it as it slithered through murky waterways in the hot, humid rainforest. Unlike the Sarcosuchus that lived during the era of dinosaurs, the Titanoboa did not live until millions of years after the dinosaurs had died out. Also, unlike the Sarcosuchus that chewed its prey, all the Titanoboa had to do was crush its prey in its massive body and swallow it whole.
Key Factors To Consider in a Fight Between a Sarcosuchus and a Titanoboa
Considering that these two reptiles were some of the largest to ever exist in the history of the world, a battle between them would have been nothing short of epic. However, in such battles, there can be only one winner. As such, we must consider certain factors before trying to ascertain which of these animals would emerge as the victor.
Sarcosuchus vs. Titanoboa: Size
The Sarcosuchus rightfully earned the title of the largest crocodile ever to exist; this reptile was as long as 40 feet and weighed as much as 3.5 to 4.3 metric tons. Even its head was long and large.
On the other hand, the Titanoboa reached lengths of over 40 feet, with many of them reaching up to 50 feet. These snakes also weighed as much as 2500 pounds, reaching over one ton.
Sarcosuchus vs. Titanoboa: Speed and Movement
Due to how long ago this Sarcosuchus lived, its speed is unclear. While certain species, like the Nile crocodile, have an average speed of 22 mph, large crocodiles typically swim at 15 to 22 mph (24 to 35 kph). However, it is believed the Sarcosuchus did not move this fast because of its length and massive size.
There is little proof of the Titanoboa’s speed on land because it spent most of its time in marshes and other locations flooded by rivers. These snakes may, however, move at rates of up to 10 mph when submerged in water. Although there is no proof that these snakes could move as quickly on land or climb trees due to their size, their skin color, which blended in with the surroundings, allowed them to sneak up on their victims while remaining undetected.
Sarcosuchus vs. Titanoboa: Predatory Behavior
Experts have hypothesized that Sarcosuchus’s diet was similar to that of the Nile Crocodile based on the size of this crocodilian’s snout and its dental structure. Its broad diet included practically anything it could kill and overwhelm. Large terrestrial prey, especially the dinosaurs common in the same area, may have been part of Sarcosuchus’ diet.
The Titanoboa predominantly consumed fish due to its palate, number, and architecture of its teeth. Most likely, the fishes were osteoglossomorphs, a group of bony fish or lungfish. However, most of these fishes are now extinct. Titanoboa also consumed other reptiles, crocodilians, and birds when it wasn’t eating fish. It was easy for these snakes to prey on many animals, and they could even crush and swallow a 300-pound turtle.
Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Sarcosuchus and a Titanoboa?
Given all the facts, a fight between these two creatures would have been an epic battle, but the Titanoboa would have won eventually. No animal had a chance against the biggest snake in history—the Titanoboa killed by constricting and suffocating its prey. Additionally, there is proof that it acted like an anaconda, ambushing unwary creatures with a stunning strike while waiting in the shallows.
All this snake would have had to do to kill a Sarcosuchus would have been to crush it to death and swallow it whole. However, the Sarcosuchus was bigger than other crocodilians, amphibians, and fish that made up a Titanoboa’s diet. Because of its size, the Titanoboa would have had a difficult time crushing it before the croc would have been able to land a few blows of his own.
Although the Sarcosuchus had sharp teeth and a wide jaw, their teeth would not have been able to do much damage to a Titanoboa because of how thick its skin was. The Sarcosuchus would have realized this eventually and given up or gone back to hiding.
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- ATI, Available here: https://allthatsinteresting.com/titanoboa-snake
- DinoAnimals, Available here: https://dinoanimals.com/animals/sarcosuchus-supercroc/
- Extinct Animals, Available here: https://www.extinctanimals.org/sarcosuchus.htm