If you’ve ever had a pet gecko or painted turtle, then you know how cute some reptiles can be. But there are other, much larger reptiles that are downright terrifying. Click through to meet 10 of the largest reptiles on Earth.
The longest snake on the planet is the reticulated python. These snakes typically can reach around 30 feet in length. The longest on record was a massive 33 feet. In addition to their length, reticulated pythons are also huge. They can weigh up to 350 pounds.
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Although not as long as the reticulated python on average, the green anaconda is the world’s largest snake in terms of mass. Typically measuring almost 20 feet in length, green anacondas weigh a bone-crushing 550 pounds. Also consider that their bodies measure 1 foot in diameter.
Sometimes exceeding 5 feet in length and weighing up to 550 pounds, Galapagos tortoises are the largest of the world’s tortoise species. The animal is also well known for being incredibly long-lived, often making it well beyond 100 years. The oldest Galapagos tortoise on record lived to be 152.
LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE
As its name suggests, the leatherback sea turtle has a unique shell that is soft and leathery instead of the hard shells most turtles have. They are also the largest of all sea turtles, weighing between 600 and 1,500 pounds. Leatherback sea turtles are currently listed as a vulnerable species.
As the only surviving members of the order Sphenodontia, which was mostly wiped out with the dinosaurs about 60 million years ago, the tuatara ranks as the largest (and last) of its kind. It is only found in New Zealand and weighs up to about 2.2 pounds. Due to its scarce numbers, tuataras are under close conservation watch.
NEW CALEDONIAN GIANT GECKO
Despite being easily the smallest reptile on this list, this animal is notable for being the largest gecko on Earth. New Caledonian giant geckos grow up 14 inches long. They also have claws on their toes, which is an unusual feature for geckos.
Also knows as gavials, gharials are crocodiles with very long, very thin, almost needle-like snouts. In fact, it has the longest snout of all crocodiles, and is near the top of the list of largest reptiles. Male gharials can grow to be 23 feet long.
This massive American alligator, measuring up to 18 feet in length and weighing 450-600 pounds, is North America’s largest reptile. American alligators are slow on land but fast in water, thanks to the propelling power of their tails. An American alligator’s tail accounts for about half its length.
We saved the biggest for last. That saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile species in the world. Average male salties are 17 feet long and weigh 1,000 pounds, but some exceed 20 feet and 2,000 pounds. These deadly beasts also possess the most powerful bite on the planet, so approach with caution. Better yet, don't approach at all.