It seems like every time you hear about that Amazon rainforest, it's in connection with some environmentally-conscious Captain Planet organization pleading for the populace to donate money to save the lush, tropical jungle from wanton deforestation and destruction by giant evil logging corporations. These depressing, heart-wrenching cries generally involves some minor celebrity reciting a list of increasingly-morbid facts about how ten billion bunnies die every second of every day, and how the environment is going to get so pissed at us for this malicious tragedy that the entire planet is going to spontaneously combust into a giant fireball and launch itself into the Sun any day now.
Now I love the environment as much as anybody, and I definitely support any efforts to save the rainforest, but I'm also going to warn you not be fooled by all of this "woe is me" publicity surrounding the Amazon - don't start thinking that this is some kind of pussy jungle full of frolicking animals and magical singing rainbows; this thing is a horrible, human-destroying demon bitch filled with some of the deadliest and most insane beasts this side of an out-of-control Greek myth about Hydra and Cerberus teaming up to eat Mount Olympus. The Amazonian Death-Jungle is over two million square miles of Piranha-infested rivers, head-shrinking cannibals, and dense tropical nightmare filled with jaguars ready to jump down out of trees and bite you in the damn brain with their razor-sharp fangs while you're taking a leak. This dank hellhole is home to electric eels, vampire bats, angry, eye-pecking Macaws, malaria-infected mosquitoes, and more bowel-clearing dysentery than you can shake a half-filled canteen at. Hell, even the cute little amphibians are malevolent beasts capable of wanton destruction at a moment's notice – a two-inch long Poison Dart Frog secretes venom from its pores powerful enough to kill ten men. It's one of the most highly-toxic creatures on the Earth's surface, and it's the size of a goddamned paper clip.
To rule the land in an environment tits-deep in venomous, aggressive, and/or carnivorous beasts just looking for one good opportunity to tear out your jugular with their toothy mouths, you need to be an unstoppable killing machine. You need a rock-hard hide, good camouflage, lighting-quick speed, enough strength to overpower even the toughest predators, and a fearsome, borderline-psychotic stare that oozes one unmistakable statement: Don't fuck with me.
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the most badass reptile of all time:
That's a vertebra from the recently-discovered TITANOBOA – the largest snake in Earth's history - compared to a vertebra of a neck-crushing, ten-foot long, kill-crazy Amazonian boa constrictor. If this quaint, bloodless photograph doesn't sufficiently illustrate the size of this ridiculously-gigantor behemoth, how about this?:
Still not doing it for you? Ok, fool, here's a cutting-edge masterpiece of post-modern expressionism I put together to give you some idea of the size and scope of this insanely ridiculous reptilian bastard:
That's right, stickman. If this snake was on a plane, it would crush the entire thing like a ten-gallon drum of thermonuclear whoop-ass being dropped onto an empty beer can. Terrorizing the rivers and forests of South America over 60 million years ago, this ass-ruining, thankfully-extinct death serpent was 43 feet long and weighed in at over 2,500 pounds. This makes TITANOBOA 15 feet longer than the largest reticulated python ever discovered, almost twice the size of any South American constrictor snake on record, and bigger than the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex yet unearthed by Paleontologists. This thing is even bigger than the snake from the movie Anaconda, a disaster/horror/monster movie about a goddamned snake that, at the time, was presumed to be impossibly big. Hell, I'd be willing to bet that if this bastard came back to life Jurassic Park-style, he'd probably singled-handedly make humanity extinct in about a half-hour and then eat Mount Rushmore for dessert. It's torso was roughly four feet in diameter, it couldn't fit through most doors, and it was more than capable of popping a human's head off by squeezing him really hard around the abdomen.
TITANOBOA presumably functioned like most modern South American Anacondas, concealing itself under the water and waiting for something to step into striking distance before lunging, wrapping itself around its prey, and choking the poor sap's shit out with its powerful abdominal muscles. Amazonian anacondas, however, never really get bigger than 25 feet long, and those dudes are known to eat things like Jaguars, crocodiles, and deer -- so who knows what TITANOBOA could have chowed down on? Scientists' best guess is that he feasted on crocs and giant turtles, he could also easily have eaten cows, bison, and small Japanese automobiles without even having to unhinge his jaw. People would have been like delicious beer-battered popcorn shrimp to this motherfucker.
|J-Lo and Ice Cube fighting TITANOBOA's puny little brother.
I also love the fact that the scientists, when presented with the most monstrous reptile this side of Godzilla, didn't screw around when it came time to give a name to this foul creature from the darkest recesses of the Nine Hells. The name TITANOBOA, short for ULTRA TITANIC KILLBONER-CONSTRICTOR of the order Killbonerus, is a name that you don't step to. There's no mistaking the fact that TITANOBOA is a serious name for a seriously enormo snake that could crush all 206 bones in your body with the same unsuspecting effortlessness as an eighteen-wheeler creating some fresh roadkill. It's a name that can also double as the title of the inevitable Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie based off the creature. It's a name that demands to be typed with the Shift key firmly pressed down with enough force to short-circuit your keyboard.
It's the name of the most badass snake to have ever lived.
"My anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hon."
- Admiral Lord Sir Mix-a-Lot