Giant snake (Australia)
Occasional sightings of giant snakes, larger than any known species, are reported in Australia.
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Reptile, Snake, Constrictor snake
Carnivore, Lazarus taxon, Out-of-scale, Featured in Native folklore
Reports of giant snakes go back in Australia to nearly 60,000 years in petroglyphs, with sightings by Europeans since the 1840s. The largest known species of snake in Australia (and 6th in the world) is the scrub python, with unusually long specimens reaching almost 25 ft in length, but are only native to the Cape York Peninsula. An area with many giant snake reports is Mallee Scrub, a semi-arid forest northwest of Victoria and northeast of South Australia. Unknown giant snakes in Australia tend to be constrictor snakes and often have the strange detail of being described as having a mane either of fur or emu feathers, which many cryptozoologists believe is shed skin, as older snakes often struggle to shed their skin on their head, making it resemble feathers. In the 1840s, many Aboriginals would warn the Europeans of massive snakes as wide as a gum tree sapling and 10 times as long as a man (50 ft). There are no modern sightings of giant snakes in the Mallee Scrub, making this cryptid, or at least its species’ population extinct. A common theory is that these giant-snake reports were late-surviving populations of Wonambi naracoortensis, which were a species of enormous snake, averaging 30 ft long that died out in Australia only 12,500 or so years ago. Wonambis were very culturally important to Indigenous Australians, as giant snake or rainbow serpent legends are sacred to Australian Aboriginal culture and religion to this day. There are still Australian giant snake reports in the modern day, often in the Top End of Northern Australia.