Giant reptiles, members of the animal kingdom Reptilia class were participants in the Jurassic period, living an existence with dinosaurs back in the prehistoric times. Today giant reptiles from the Reptilia class still exist living in various locations across the world, and all of them high up on the food chain. We plan on providing information about the biggest living giant reptiles still alive and also look back at some of the giant reptiles of ancient history, the most dangerous, the biggest and most fearsome apex predators of their era.
From the giant snakes that fall under the reptile class, like the giant anaconda and the huge reticulated python, to the giant reptile lizards that walk planet earth today, like the monitor lizard and the biggest variant of that genus the mighty Komodo Dragon. We have the most factual, unique and interesting information on the biggest reptiles ever to walk planet Earth.
Not only are giant reptiles some of the most interesting creatures ever, they are so different to mammals that they appear even more intriguing, their skin, need for higher temperatures and heat, and their ability to survive without meals for long periods marks the giant reptiles as creatures so far removed from mammals that we can't help but be fascinated by them.
The giant anaconda is one of the biggest reptiles and snakes living on the earth, and a seriously dangerous predator as well. Read more about the Giant Anaconda >>
The Komodo dragon is thought to be the biggest lizard in existence, and is definitely one of the biggest giant reptiles currently living. Read more about the Komodo Dragon >>
The monitor lizard is a family of reptiles that are well deservingly in the class of giant reptiles, with the monitor lizards being the biggest type of lizards currently living. Read more about the Monitor Lizard >>
The reticulated python is possibly the biggest reptile currently living, a mighty huge snake native to South east Asia the reticulated python is a sight to behold. Read more about the Reticulated Python >>
Giant reptiles and the animal class Reptilia
Giant reptiles are of course part of the reptile family falling under the class Reptilia which marks them as part of the amniotes that are not classified as either mammal or bird. They are typically identified by their scales and as having four limbs, or in the case of snakes having evolved from four limbed vertebrates. The Giant reptiles cover animals like turtles, lizards, snakes and crocodiles all scaled and cold blooded in some form.
Giant reptile classes and orders
The reptile class as we mentioned previously is part of the class Reptilia, which defines animals that are not mammals or birds. The reptiles that exist today, all stemmed from the Carboniferous period where they evolved the from amphibian lifeforms in existence over 300 million years ago.
Throughout history many reptiles have become extinct, much like the well known Dinosaurs who while not reptiles which were some of the biggest creatures ever and share some common traits with reptiles. In prehistoric times there were flying reptiles known as the Pterosaurs, mighty winged beasts of the skies. There was also the prehistoric crocodiles like the deinosuchu hatcheri who would have been more than capable of handling themselves alongside the dinosaurs of the time.
Today there are four main classes/orders of reptiles, which we will detail below:
The Crocodilia order covers the family of animals encompassing crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials. The Crocodilia family is also the parent of the two largest, but now extinct giant reptiles, the Sarcosuchus imperator, and deinosuchu hatcheri, commonly referred to as Supercrocs.
The Sphenodontia is a very small family in the reptile world, with only two species still living. The two surviving reptiles, are both variants of the Tuatara which is a small to medium sized lizard.
The Squamata order covers scaled reptiles, including snakes and lizards. The Squamata is also the second biggest order of vertebrates, which covers animals with a spine/backbone. In this order, we find plenty of giant reptiles, from the Monitor lizard, including the Komodo dragon, and the beasts of the serpentine world, the Giant anaconda, and the reticulated python.
The Testudines order covers what we know as Turtles. All members of this family are owners of a shell, which they use as a natural home, and defence system. The testudines are some of the oldest known reptiles, and date back to times over 200 million years ago. One of the biggest giant reptiles in the testudines family is the leatherback sea turtle that is a true monster, and can reach up to 7 feet in length.
Types of giant reptiles
Giant snakes are probably the biggest living examples of giant reptiles in the world as we know it today. Due to the immense climate changes the earth has experienced over the years, the snakes living right now in the warmer continents of the earth are not as big as their predecessors. The current kings of the giant snake family are the reticulated python and the mighty giant anaconda. Both these snakes are powerful and dangerous predators, with sightings marking them at up to and over 30 feet in length, and the ability to eat animals as big as elephants.
Giant lizards are another class of giant reptiles that are still living today on our planet. The biggest giant lizards are the monitor lizard family, which of course includes the bigger classes including the mighty Komodo dragon and the alligator and Nile monitors.
Giant turtles and tortoises
The name giant turtle or giant tortoise is highly appropriate, the biggest of both of these Reptilian species can grow to be beastly specimens. For example the Leatherback sea turtle can grow to up to 10 feet in length from head to tail, and is one of the biggest living reptiles today. Quite a feat for what many consider to be a slow and pondering creature, most turtles and tortoises can also live to ripe old ages, especially the tortoises who can live over 100 years old.
Extinct giant reptiles
Some of the biggest giant reptiles now only exist in fossil form, over the years they have been found by explorers and archaeologists. These historic giant reptiles contain links to some of our modern reptiles too.
The Sarcosuchus or Supercroc as it’s commonly known was the great, and extremely giant relative to modern day alligators and crocodiles from the Crocodilia family. The might Titanboa was possibly the largest ever snake, and the forefather of the modern day smaller snakes of the Squamata order of reptiles. We also have the might Megalania, who was perhaps the biggest lizard found to date, and the forefather of the Komodo dragons and monitor lizards we know today.
All we know about these now extinct giant reptiles is that if the earth was to warm up considerably, there is a high possibly we could once again see these super sized reptiles walking the earth.
Giant reptile diets
Reptiles are typically carnivorous, meaning their diet is wholly meat based, and giant reptiles are no different. Most reptiles survive by eating prey which is relative in size to the reptile itself, so giant reptiles typically have a wide choice of potential prey due wholly to their size, and their position in the food chain.
Apex predators and giant reptiles
Many giant reptiles are considered apex predators, marking them as top of the food chain animals. This in essence means that many giant reptiles have little or no natural predators. The Komodo dragon is a good example of a giant reptile that is a natural apex predator, in its environment the slow Komodo dragon doesn’t have to worry at all about something trying to eat it when it is in a fully grown state.
Heat and giant reptiles
Reptiles unlike mammals always show some level of cold bloodedness, this means that they need external heat to keep their body temperature up. Where mammals will burn food for energy to keep their body temperature up, and additionally need to eat consistently to perpetuate this motion, reptiles can eat at much larger intervals as they can generate energy from the heat in their environment. Reptiles can generate energy from the sun, they don’t have the internal mechanism to regulate its temperature leading to them absorbing heat from the sun to increase their metabolism a. Reptiles have a much lower natural metabolism, which is why they require much less food or fuel, this does typically affect their overall output levels and generally makes reptiles slower than similar sized mammals and unable to maintain sustained high speed movement. The benefit of the cold blooded reptiles, is that due to their lower requirements for food, they are much more hardy in environments where food is scarce.
The biggest giant reptiles
The biggest giant reptiles we cover here are truly something of wonder and in the flesh are even more impressive. The Reptilia genus has plenty of giants, the leatherback sea turtle, the giant anaconda and the mighty Supercroc are just a few. Luckily here at Legends and Chronicles we have the finest information on all the giant reptiles both living and extinct, so there is no reason not to start learning more about these truly interesting animals right away.