Epic Battles: The Largest Snake Ever vs. The Largest Lion

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: December 17, 2022
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Titanoboa was the largest snake ever to live, making our modern-day anaconda looksmall. However, that was not the only extinct species in a family to make extant ones look small. The largest lion ever, the cave lion, would have a big size advantage over the modern African lion counterparts. That makes us wonder, which of these two creatures would win a fight between the largest snake ever vs. the largest lion?  

For this battle, we will use information about the cave lion and the Titanoboa to determine which of these creatures is most likely to win the bout!

Comparing the Largest Snake Ever and the Largest Lion

The key differences between the largest snake ever and the largest lion are found in their size, morphology, and habitats.
Largest Snake EverLargest Lion
SizeWeight: up to 2,500 pounds
Length: around 40 to 50 feet long
Weight: from 700 to 800 pounds
Height: about 4 feet tall at the shoulder
Length: about 7 feet long, but even longer with their tail
Speed– Probably moved at less than 1 mph on land on average
– Modern anacondas swim at about 10 mph, so this larger creature may swim slower
– Could run at about 30 mph  
Defenses– Large, thick, muscular body would be hard to harm even for big animals
– The snake would spend most of its time hidden in or around water in low-lying plains
– Large size would make this creature a difficult target for predators
– May have lived in prides or small family units
– Lacked the robust mane around their necks to save them from attacks at that vital point
Offensive Capabilities– Had rows of rear-facing teeth that the snake would use to bite its prey
– Would wrap its body around large animals to suffocate them or overwhelm their circulatory system
– Bite force of roughly 1,800 PSI, much stronger than modern lions
– Had canine teeth that measured 5 inches in length
– Possessed sharp, retractable claws
Predatory Behavior– Would most likely have attacked from the edge of a body of water– May have been group hunters, using cursorial predation to bring down large prey
– Some may have hunted in an ambush

What Are the Key Differences Between the Largest Snake Ever and the Largest Lion?

The key differences between the largest snake ever and the largest lion are found in their size, morphology, and habitats. The largest snake ever was a limbless reptile that weighed up to 2,500 pounds, measured up to 50 feet long, and probably spent most of its time in or near water.

Meanwhile, the largest lion ever was a land-dwelling, quadrupedal mammal found in steppes and grasslands that weighed up to 800 pounds and grew 4 feet tall at the shoulder.

Each of these factors will have a profound impact on the fight. We need to know if the lion’s speed matters in a fight that starts in an ambush and whether the mammal can fight back against something three times its weight.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between the Largest Snake Ever and the Largest Lion?

How do we figure out which animal wins a fight between two creatures that never lived in the same place or time? We have to determine which factors of these two animals play a role in their fight and then compare each animal’s traits. We’ll break down elements of speed, size, attack power, and more to show you which animal has the better chance of winning and why that’s the case.

Largest Snake Ever vs. Largest Lion: Size

Titanoboa illustration

The Titanoboa had the size advantage over the cave lion.

©Michael Rosskothen/Shutterstock.com

The largest snake ever was much larger than the largest lion. The Titanoboa weigh up to 2,500 pounds compared to the cave lion’s 800 pounds. The Titanoboa was probably 40 to 50 feet long, but the largest snake stood about 4 feet tall and 7 feet long, not counting its tail. The lion only had the height advantage, and that’s not much of an advantage in this case.

The largest snake has the size advantage.

Largest Snake Ever vs. Largest Lion: Speed

The largest lion ever was faster than the largest snake. Titanoboa’s size made it difficult to move quickly in water or land. We can estimate that the snake moved somewhere around 5 mph in the water and 1 mph on land, but we don’t know for sure.

The largest lion ran at speeds of 30 mph on land, but we don’t know about its behavior in the water. Still, it was probably more agile than the largest snake ever while running.

The largest lion has the speed advantage.  

Largest Snake Ever vs. Largest Lion: Defenses

The largest lion ever probably kept the company of its kind. That pride of lions would be hard for any single predator to take down. However, all the cave lion has going for it in this particular fight is its size. While substantial, it’s much smaller than the snake.

The largest snake ever was a massive, powerful creature that would be surprisingly hard to find since it lived in low-lying areas with vegetation or in the water. The snake’s skin would offer it some camouflage, and the snake’s senses would allow it to discover nearby creatures.

All in all, the largest snake has a defensive advantage.

Largest Snake Ever vs. Largest Lion: Offensive Capabilities

The largest lion ever was probably more powerful than the lions of today. This creature had canines that measured up to 5 inches long, and it had a bite force of about 1,800 PSI. That’s twice as strong as an African lion! They would have tried to bite and suffocate their prey after chasing it down with their pride or ambushing it.

The largest snake ever was a constrictor snake. That means the animal would bite its prey and latch onto them with many rows of rear-facing teeth. Next, the snake would start coiling around its prey and start squeezing. That would either suffocate their prey or make its circulatory system fail, killing the animal so it could be consumed.

Neither animal has a distinct offensive advantage over the other.

Largest Snake Ever vs. Largest Lion: Predatory Behavior

American Cave Lion

Cave lions relied on their pride to predate.

©Sergiodlarosa / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Both the largest snake ever and the largest lion ever were predators. The largest lion probably used cursorial predation with a group or ambushed their prey. The largest snake ever probably only ambushed any land-dwelling prey. They would wait at the water’s edge for something to drink and then attack. The snake was mostly a fish eater, though, so those ambushes were not its sole source of food.

The lion has more types of predatory behavior, but one of them relies on a pride that the lion won’t have in this fight. This factor is a tie.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between the Largest Snake Ever and the Largest Lion?


Titanoboa would defeat the cave lion in a fight.

©Michael Rosskothen/Shutterstock.com

The largest snake ever would win a fight against the largest lion of all time. The Titanoboa was so massive that the lion would have few options available to it in a fight. Moreover, given that the battle would probably start near a source of water where the Titanoboa lived, the lion would probably be attacked before it knew what was happening.

An ambush attack from the water would see the large snake attacking the lion’s head or neck. The Titanoboa would land a bite and then use its massive size and weight to draw the lion into the water.

Several factors could change this outcome, though. If the fight took place on land, such as if the Titanoboa was traveling on land between two rivers, then the lion could have probably done some serious damage to its head. Given the Titanoboa’s size, though, the cave lion would need to land a powerful attack in a hurry to stop the snake from reaching water or turning around to attack.

Yet, since the cave lion probably hunted with a small group, the pride would take down the Titanoboa in a hypothetical fight. One-on-one, though, the lion would have a smaller chance of surviving than the snake.

Realistically, though, there is a better chance that a Titanoboa would aim to kill the largest lion ever than the other way around. The lion would know that such a kill would require immense amounts of energy based on size alone. Given that the mammal never saw anything so large and frightening, it would probably give in to its instincts and avoid the creature.

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The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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