Epic Battles: The Largest Venomous Snake Ever vs. a Grizzly Bear

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: November 10, 2022
© Scott E Read/Shutterstock.com
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A recent rediscovery of fossils of the largest venomous snake has people wondering how this creature would fare in the modern world. After all, Laophis crotaloides was a snake that lived in Greece millions of years ago that weighed over twice as much as the largest venomous snakes alive today. We’re not giving this creature an easy bout, though. Instead, we’re going to imagine a battle between the largest venomous snake ever vs. a grizzly bear.

We’ll show you how they measure up to each other and which animal would have the best chance of surviving an encounter.   

Comparing the Largest Venomous Snake and a Grizzly Bear

Largest Venomous Snake EverGrizzly Bear
SizeWeight:  Up to 57 pounds
Length: 10 to 13 feet
Weight: Between 600 and 700 pounds
Height: Between 3 and 4.5 feet at their shoulders
Length: Between 7 and 10 feet in length
Speed– Perhaps 2-3 mph (estimated from the eastern diamondback snake’s speed)– May reach speeds of 35 mph while running
– Can swim at about 6 mph
Defenses– Probably lived in places where it could hide, such as areas with thick vegetation
– Its colors and patterns may have allowed it to blend in with its surroundings
– Many creatures have an innate sense of fear or disgust about snakes and would avoid them
– Possesses thick skin that can diminish the effectiveness of bites
– Their large size scares some prey away
– May engage in defensive posturing to scare enemies like other bears
Offensive Capabilities– The snake may have had fangs that were a few inches in length
– Their hollow fangs would allow for the delivery of a potent venom
– Like other vipers, this snake could have had hemotoxic venom that takes time to kill their prey
– The size of the snake could allow it to deliver an immense volume of venom
–  Has a powerful bite measuring 975 PSI
– Uses its 4-inch-long claws for digging and moving items, but they are still capable of slashing animals
– Often use their weight as part of an assault
– Bites and shakes prey while tearing flesh
– Can smack prey with its very large paws and harm them
Predatory Behavior– Most likely were ambush predators that positioned themselves in advantageous places to strike unsuspecting prey  Grizzly bears are opportunistic predators that will travel, spot prey, and then bring it down with a powerful assault
– They also scavenge food and forage

What Are the Key Differences Between the Largest Venomous Snake and a Grizzly Bear?

Aside from the morphological variations between the animals, the most significant differences between the largest venomous snake and a grizzly bear can be found in their size, speed, and methods of attacking.

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Grizzly bears are large mammals capable of running at 35 mph. They weigh up to 700 pounds on average, grow 10 feet tall, and use bites, claws, and smashing paw attacks to kill their prey. Meanwhile, the largest venomous snake ever measured about 13 feet long, weighed 57 pounds, used venom to kill its prey, and only moved at speeds of 2 to 3 mph but could probably strike several times faster.

These unique qualities set the animals apart, but they also give us valuable insight into how the fight would occur. We’ll go into greater detail below as we consider other factors.  

Grizzly bears can run at speeds up to 35 mph, which is considerably faster than Laophis crotaloides, which maxed out at around 3 mph.

©Scott E Read/Shutterstock.com

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between the Largest Venomous Snake and a Grizzly Bear?

The key factors in a fight between the largest venomous snake and a grizzly bear are their size, predatory behavior, and offensive capabilities. Each of these elements will have a significant impact on the fight’s result.

We’re going to consider these elements along with others, highlighting the strengths and advantages of each creature. After we finish considering all these important factors, we’ll have a good idea of which animal will succeed in this battle.

The Largest Venomous Snake vs. Grizzly Bear: Size

The grizzly bear is much bigger than the largest venomous snake. An average grizzly bear can weigh between 600 and 700 pounds, but the largest ones can reach weights of 1,200 pounds! Also, they grow between 7 and 10 feet long and stand between 3 and 4.5 feet tall while walking on all fours.

The largest venomous snake ever weighed about 57 pounds and grew between 10 and 13 feet in length. They are shorter than a king cobra, but they weigh several times more. Still, they’re not that large overall.

Grizzly bears have the size advantage over the largest venomous snake.

The Largest Venomous Snake vs. Grizzly Bear: Speed and Movement

A grizzly bear is faster than it looks. They can run at speeds of 35 mph, more than enough to chase down different kinds of prey. Yet, the largest venomous snake probably moved at similar speeds or slower speeds than modern vipers, between 2 and 3 mph at the utmost and over short distances.

Yet, they could probably strike very fast, too fast for a bear to dodge at the very least.

All in all, grizzly bears have the speed advantage, but the largest venomous snake can strike faster.

The Largest Venomous Snake vs. Grizzly Bear: Defenses

You can’t kill what you can’t see. The largest venomous snake probably had some camouflage in its coloration to blend in with its environment, or it could stay hidden in grasslands. The snake probably had a thick body that protected it against some physical wounds, but those defenses were probably not significant against large predators.

Meanwhile, grizzly bears have thick skin and the ability to scare away most animals with their size and defensive posturing. Grizzly bears are apex predators, so few animals want to get drawn into a fight with these large, powerful mammals. The ability to end a fight before it starts with the fear of their size alone is a potent defense.  

Both animals have effective defenses for this fight, but grizzly bears have superior physical protection.

The Largest Venomous Snake vs. Grizzly Bear: Offensive Capabilities

Grizzly bears have many different methods of attack that they can use. They use brute force to smack animals around and move obstacles. They also have claws sharp enough to slash prey and a bite strong enough to break the bones of animals they bite.

Grizzly bears don’t bite to exsanguinate their prey, though. They tear into them, viciously shake them, and completely incapacitate them. Their mauling attacks are incredibly powerful and capable of killing animals without allowing them to counterattack.

The largest venomous snake had a simpler but highly effective way of killing prey. They would deliver venom, probably a hemotoxin, into their prey with their hollow fangs. The animal would then run away while the snake hunted it from a distance until the venom overwhelmed and started to predigest the area where the animal was bitten.

Since this snake was so large, it could probably deliver a large volume of venom. Assuming this snake weighs twice as much as a Gaboon viper, a rudimentary estimate suggests that a snake that weighs over twice as much could deliver more venom than that species. In other words, the Laophis crotaloides may have been able to deliver 1,000 mg or probably much more venom into their prey.

The largest venomous snake and the grizzly bear both have powerful, incomparable offensive powers, so neither has the advantage in this fight.

The Largest Venomous Snake vs. Grizzly Bear: Predatory Behavior

Grizzly bears are opportunistic creatures that will often travel many miles in a day to seek out food. When they spot something that they can hunt, they’ll attack it by getting as close as possible and then chasing it down. They can take large deer species even if it takes a while to make them succumb to their wounds.

The largest venomous snake was probably an ambush predator. They would wait for their prey to come by, attack it, and then let it go while the venom does its work.

The largest venomous snake has the advantage in predatory behavior.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a The Largest Venomous Snake and a Grizzly Bear?

A grizzly bear would win a fight against the largest venomous snake ever. Of course, this fight probably wouldn’t take place because both animals would rather avoid each other, and they never lived in the same parts of the world.  

If the fight did happen, the snake will die. The problem is that the snake’s venom isn’t going to stop a grizzly from killing it. Assuming the viper had primarily hemotoxic venom like other members of its phylogenetic family, a bite would certainly cause significant damage to the bear and probably kill it over time. Bears are not immune to snake venom. Smaller bears, like black bears, have been killed by envenomation from other, much smaller vipers.

If the snake had a primarily neurotoxic venom like that seen in elapids, the bite could stymie the bear’s efforts and let the reptile escape. As it is, the hemotoxic venom is going to cause pain, swelling, bleeding, and other symptoms if the snake successfully bites the bear.

However, in the interim, the bear is going to maul the snake’s body with its teeth and claws. It would bite, shake, and tear the snake apart before it goes down. That’s assuming the snake gets the first attack at all. A well-placed bite from the bear could spell the end of the snake before it gets a chance to envenomate the mammal.

All in all, it’s likely that the grizzly bear wins in the short term and possibly dies in the long term.

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About the Author

I've been a freelance writer since 2013, and I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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