By Carolyn Belardo
It’s the biggest snake that ever roamed the planet, and it’s the centerpiece of Titanoboa: Monster Snake, our newest exhibit.
At 48 feet long and 2,500 pounds, Titanoboa cerrejonensis grew as long as a school bus and as heavy as a small car. It lived in a hot and humid climate 60 million years ago, 5 million years after the dinosaurs went extinct.
“Titanoboa is a bigger, badder boa, and it will simply knock your socks off,” says Academy Director of Exhibits Jennifer Sontchi.
Twice as long as the longest snake alive today, Titanoboa was discovered in 2009 by a team of scientists working in one of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines at Cerrejón in La Guajira, Colombia. Fossil plants, giant turtles, and crocodiles found with it deep underground reveal the earliest known rain forest, teeming with life and dating to the Paleocene, the lost world that followed the demise of the dinosaurs.
48 feet long may be hard to imagine, but the kids in this video can help with that.
Titanoboa: Monster Snake, on view through Sunday, April 19, delves into the stories of the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous reptile. Visitors can enjoy:
• Seeing live snakes and specimens from the Academy’s collection.
• Learning about venom, fangs, and scales.
• Examining model vertebrae to compare Titanoboa with a modern anaconda.
• Crawling the length of Titanoboa in the Titanoboa Challenge. There also is a shorter crawl-through tunnel for young children.
• Enjoying a Smithsonian documentary about Titanoboa in the mini-theater (every hour on the hour)
• Learning about the important role snakes play in our lives.
For another video and to purchase tickets, please visit our website.