From snakes to lizards, harmless to venomous, there’s something fascinating about reptiles. Even more so, the giant reptiles around the world. Frequently used as man-eating monsters in Hollywood (Anaconda, Lake Placid), giant snakes, crocodiles, and lizards are feared by many. However, for the danger seekers, this list will take you through the countries with the biggest reptiles, whether to visit or simply to admire from afar. For clarity, many of these reptiles can be found in multiple countries and the countries may have other reptiles there, however for the sake of clarity I will be choosing the countries with the highest number of a specific species.
Mexico – Leatherback Turtle
While being a sea turtle that can travel hundreds of miles in the ocean, many Leatherback Turtle’s come to the shores of Mexico to lay their eggs. Weighing anywhere between 250 and 700kg, these heavy reptiles are quite a sight to see filling the Mexican beaches during their laying season.
Ecuador – Galapagos Tortoise
This gentle giant may not be the most dangerous massive reptile on the list, but what they lack in speed and fangs, they make up for in size. Adult Galapagos tortoises can weigh up to 417kg and can live up to 100 years old in the wild, with the oldest living to 170 in captivity.
Indonesia – Komodo Dragon
A large lizard with a deadly bite, the Komodo Dragon of Indonesia dominates the ecosystem of its home, killing and eating birds, invertebrates, and mammals. Not only is it a massive reptile on its own, but it’s also the largest species of lizards on the planet. Best known for having venomous saliva, the bite force of the Komodo Dragon is speculated to be strong enough to snap an adult’s leg in two, though I’m not sure anyone would volunteer to test that.
India – Reticulated Python
The longest snake in the world, the Reticulated Python eats anything it can get a hold of. There have been reports of them swallowing deer and even Sun Bears, which are known to be extremely aggressive. The snake has earned the title of longest snake due to its longest length of 21.3ft, a behemoth that could easily devour a human being. They make their kills not with venom, but rather by slowly squeezing their prey to death and swallowing them whole.
Bolivia – Green Anaconda
I remember watching the movie Anaconda when I was younger and being terrified by the giant snake that terrorized Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube, but it was just a movie, right? Well, Green Anacondas are not a work of fiction and occupy slow-moving rivers and streams throughout South America. Though they aren’t as long as the Reticulated Python, the weight makes them the largest snakes in the world, weighing in at up to 500kg. While there have been reports of attacks on humans, Green Anacondas tend to eat mammals and fish, though they have been known to kill and eat fully grown Jaguars.
Australia – Saltwater Crocodile
Australia. Oh, Australia. Home to numerous horrific creatures, such as the Huntsman Spider, various snakes and lizards, and even giant pinecones that have been reported to kill people when they fall from trees, it’s no surprise that it’s home to the biggest reptile on the planet. The Saltwater Crocodile can grow up to 23ft and weigh 1,300kg. Over the years there have been photos and videos emerging of the Saltwater Crocodile killing bull sharks that swim up the Australian rivers and they also feast on cattle and buffalo, as well as a few unsuspecting humans. On average, there are 30 Saltwater Crocodile attacks on humans every year with 50% of those attacks being fatal.
So, with that list of the biggest reptiles and their countries, you know either where to avoid or where to visit to see these giant reptiles in action. To all snake and lizard enthusiasts out there, remember that these monsters are nothing like looking after your pet reptile, they are big, bad, and often dangerous wild animals. Some countries offer paid tours to be able to (safely) see these massive reptiles in the wild and I would recommend that if you wanted to see them up close.