Snakes are some of the most fear-inducing creatures on the planet. Whether they are small and harmless or big and scary, anyone with even minor Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) is sure to let out a scream. Most of the time, people are worried about the venomous snakes that live all over the world. While venomous snakes may claim more lives, there is a group of snakes that can do more than just kill a human; they can totally eat them alive.
Can Snakes Really Eat Humans?
As crazy as it sounds, there are a few species of snake in the world that have the ability to eat humans. Despite none of these snakes having venom, there is one thing they all have in common: immense size. In order for a snake to eat a human, it needs to be really, really big!
There are only two groups of snakes that grow to a size where they are able to not just kill a human, but eat them. These groups are boas and pythons. Pythons and boas are very similar, with both killing through constriction and having certain species that can grow to immense sizes. Their differences are mostly visual and reproductive, with pythons laying eggs while boas give birth to live young.
Let’s learn about the species of snake that can eat humans (and have before)!
Four Snakes That Can Actually Eat a Human
The reticulated python is generally considered to be the longest snake in the entire world and is among the three heaviest. They are native to South and Southeast Asia and are hunted by humans for their beautifully patterned scales, from which they get their name. Although these snakes are dangerous, they are regularly sold as pets all over the world.
The largest reticulated python recorded was a zoo-kept individual that grew to around 24 feet long. Large individuals in the wild usually grow to around 21 feet at a maximum and weigh close to 170 lbs.
There are many recorded instances of reticulated pythons killing humans, with at least two of them being eaten afterward. In fact, Wikipedia has an entire section detailing every officially recorded instance of a reticulated python killing a human. One example details a slave woman in 1638 being killed and eaten on the island of Gunung Api. Since the snake was so slow after the meal, it was killed and taken back to camp, where the dead woman was cut out of the snake’s body.
African rock python
African rock pythons are among the largest snake species in the world, although they aren’t as long as reticulated pythons. These snakes live across most of Africa and are grouped into different subspecies, depending on where they live. The central African rock python is the largest subspecies and the one responsible for most of the dangerous interactions with humans. Deadly interactions with humans do occur, but they are extremely rare.
Rock pythons can measure up to 12 feet long in the wild, although rare examples of 19-foot individuals have been documented. The largest snakes can weigh around 200 lbs and are able to take large prey like goats and some species of antelope.
There are reports of attacks on humans, some more reliable than others. The most common examples of the snake actually feeding on humans usually involve children, although the largest members of the species could potentially eat a smaller adult.
Burmese pythons are well-known snakes, especially as their popularity as pets has grown over the years. They are found natively in Southeast Asia, especially Burma, where they get their name. In recent years, Burmese pythons have been introduced into the Everglades of Florida and have caused ecological problems ever since.
In the wild, Burmese pythons can easily grow to 16 feet, although captive individuals can grow much larger. The largest snake ever recorded was measured to be 18 feet 10 inches, although unconfirmed reports of a captive snake came out claiming a similar length but a weight of around 400 lbs.
As far as human deaths go, the Burmese python has few instances of attacks and no examples of them consuming a human. With their size, they do have the potential, although it would have to be a small child and not a full-grown adult.
The green anaconda is potentially the most famous snake in the world. Movies and television shows have been made from the myths surrounding the snake, although the vast majority of them are overblown. Green anacondas are native to South America and live in the warm, swampy regions across the continent. Of all the anaconda species, the green anaconda is the largest.
Green anacondas aren’t the longest snakes in the world, but they are the heaviest. The longest individuals usually measure around 17 feet, although some very unofficial reports claim snakes upwards of 30 feet. On average, green anacondas weigh between 66 and 154 lbs, although the largest ones can exceed 200 lbs.
The sheer bulk and size of a green anaconda solidify them as a danger to humans if they become aggressive. Still, despite their size, very few instances of an anaconda killing a human existence. Even fewer instances of an anaconda eating a human existence, although it is technically possible as they regularly consume capybaras and caimans.
Other Reptiles That Could Eat a Human
The Komodo dragon, a sizable lizard species, is the sole known type of lizard that may sometimes assault and devour humans.
In fact, according to researchers, humans are categorized as “super-predators,” as unlike other land predators such as lions, bears, and tigers that tend to hunt young prey for sustenance, humans have been observed to kill adult prey at a rate of 14 times higher than these animals, as per their analysis of a worldwide database of over 300 studies.
Additionally, the Nile crocodile and saltwater crocodile are the two species that are widely recognized for their tendency to hunt humans, and they are responsible for the majority of crocodilian attacks that result in both fatal and non-fatal outcomes.
Furthermore, while rare, it is not unheard of for alligators to consume humans, as some alligators have been discovered to have human remains in their digestive systems; nevertheless, there have been several cases in which the human victim’s body was found undamaged following an attack, such as the tragic incident at Disneyworld in 2016 where a 2-year-old child lost their life.
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