Photo manipulation by RKNTV - Sources: Flickr via creative commons

Many things on Earth are still yet to be discovered. Indeed, sometimes animals we thought are extinct are found alive – and there are even some new species that are discovered by accident when looking for something else. Sometimes it’ll be something amazing – and sometimes terrifying.

Like snakes… Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes. They are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales. Many species of snakes have skulls with several more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their highly mobile jaws. Due to their narrow bodies, their paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung.

Snakes have always been something that unnerves a lot of people, be it due to the way they move – or the fact that they can kill you by constricting you to death, or with a single bite – then eat you whole. There’ve been actual reports of some larger snakes literally gulping down a hapless human victim. Snakes come in many different lengths and colors, but some snakes can reportedly grow larger than a human. Take the green anacondas, for example, the largest officially recorded green anaconda was around 9 meters – that’s roughly 30 feet – and sometimes weighing over 227 kilograms (over 500 pounds).

Green Anaconda – Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr Creative Commons

But there are reports of snakes that grow even larger. So it would not come as a surprise that you would hear stories of some snakes that can grow to immense size. The legendary Titanoboa, for example. These prehistoric giant snakes lived in what is now La Guajira in northeastern Colombia. They could grow up to 12.8 m (42 ft) long and reach a weight of 1,135 kg (2,500 pounds. Fossils have been found in the Cerrejón Formation, and date to around 58 to 60 million years ago. The giant snake was supposed to have lived during the Middle to Late Paleocene epoch, a 10-million-year period immediately following the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

One-ton snake: This artist’s rendition shows what “Titanoboa,” the largest snake the world has ever known, might have looked like in its natural setting 60 million years ago. Partial skeletons of the giant, boa constrictor-like snake were found in Colombia by an international team of scientists and studied at the Florida Museum. ILLUSTRATION BY JASON BOURQUE

The only other unconfirmed “snake kin” to the Titanoboa would be the infamous sea serpents of seafaring folklore that can allegedly grow even larger. But while there is no current validity of sea serpents due to the lack of any fossil finds from lands that were once submerged among the prehistoric oceans, the fossils of Titanoboa are indeed real.

Artwork of a sea serpent. Source: Flickr via creative commons – Zebra Zensation Technical Pen & Schmincke Watercolor, Escoda Aquarello Petit Gris 12 on Hahnemühle Cold Press watercolor Postcard

Except that there have been some persistent rumors that date back as early as around 1906 of such giant snakes when a British officer, cartographer, geologist, and acclaimed archaeologist adventurer/explorer ventured deep into the Brazilian jungles of South America had a close encounter of the slithering kind.

His name was Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett.

During his cartographic expeditions down in the Brazilian jungle at the behest of the Royal Geographical Society in 1906, Fawcett claimed that he saw and shot what he described as a giant anaconda measuring roughly 65 feet in length (over 20 meters). Along with the alleged giant snake, he also took note of several unknown creatures that have yet to be discovered.

He tried to tell his colleagues about his experiences when he returned but was outright laughed at. Not to be discouraged, however, he went on more expeditions down in Brazil – this time, to find the legendary lost city of “Z”. Unfortunately, it was also during his latest expedition in 1925 where his last communique was made on May 29, 1925 – and was never heard of since thereafter.

His disappearance had been made into a film around 2009 called “Lost City of Z”.

It wasn’t until many years later that another man by the name of Mike Warner took up the gauntlet in hoping to prove that the giant snake Fawcett claimed to have seen was real.

It was during the Mike Warner-led expedition that has caught pictures of possible proof that the snake does exist.

They were even interviewed by the BBC in 2009 Mike Warner, 73, and his son Greg, 44, took the aerial photographs of the creature, which they believe shows a giant reptile, which measures roughly 40 metres long and around two metres in diameter, slithering through the Peruvian rainforest. They describe the creature as being dark brown in colour and known locally as Yacumama, during their 12-day expedition to the Amazon in March 2009.

But sightings like Fawcett’s giant snake aren’t alone as over the years, some reports of encounters with large snake-like cryptids persist over the years.

One of the more “recent” sightings after Fawcett, was from a Belgian Belgian pilot and fighter ace who served in the aviation branch of the Belgian Army and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War Two – his name was Col. Remy Van Lierde.

Remy Van Lierde (above left insert) – source: Wikipedia

Van Lierde claimed that while flying above the wilderness of the Katanga Province in the southeast of the Belgian Congo in 1959, he spotted and took a picture of a giant 50 feet (around 15 meters) long snake that was a dark shade of brown and green with a pale belly and a head roughly 3 foot in length. As he flew for a closer inspection, the reptile rose to approximately 9 feet high (3 meters) and gave the impression that it would have lunged at the helicopter had it been within striking range. 

That photograph by Van Lierde was the most controversial one so far in 1959 when it aired in an episode in the “Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World” television series. So much so that some cryptozoologists think that it’s proof something like the Titanoboa could exist to this day.

That’s not all though, there were even reports of an ACTUAL giant anaconda that was 33 feet long that was found in a construction site in Brazil in 2016. Not quite as large as Van Lierde’s, as it was at least 17 feet shorter.

Source: The Sun.UK

Makes me wonder exactly what the heck do they eat down there to get that large.

According to news sources at that time in 2016, the giant snake above was discovered by the workers after they carried out a controlled explosion in the Cave of Altamira in the northern state of Para. The video goes on to show the length of the snake – though it wasn’t reported if the animal was still alive when they came upon it and may have been already crushed on discovery during the initial explosion due to the flat appearance of the snake’s head.

People commenting on the video that I dug up above went the gamut from awe, terror, and some even criticized the workers for killing the snake for a photo op. I just want to repeat here that the animal may have already expired when they cleared the rubble after blasting the site.

Then there’s another video I dug up – again dated 2016:

The men above were clearing tempting fate, but judging from the distended “belly”, the snake has most likely just eaten recently – though it’s anybody’s guess if the food was big enough to be a large animal or human.

So, even with some trepidation that giant snakes could be a thing, it’s also possible that the giant snakes Fawcett and Van Lierde described could – in fact – exist. Who knows? There are still many things left to discover in the most remote regions of Earth’s jungles and rainforests, given time – maybe they will be validated.

Or be labeled as “Folktails”…

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