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New research suggests an enormous snake may have once called India home. 

Fossilized vertebrae found near a coal mine in western India indicate that the snake was between 36 feet and 50 feet long. 

This is up to eight feet longer than the largest snake known to man and nearly 17 feet longer than the current largest living snake, the Associated Press reported this week. 

The snake weighed up to a ton, researchers said in a Scientific Reports article published on April 18. 

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The giant reptile is believed to have roamed — or rather, slithered on — the Earth about 47 million years ago.

Researchers who found the snake dubbed it “Vasuki indicus,” the AP said.

In Hinduism, there is a “mythical snake king Vasuki, who wraps around the neck of the Hindu deity Shiva,” Debajit Datta, a study co-author at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, told the AP. 

The snake likely constricted its prey, and was not particularly fast. 

“Considering its large size, Vasuki was a slow-moving ambush predator that would subdue its prey through constriction,” Datta told the AP. 

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Datta guessed the snake possibly lived on a diet of “catfish, turtles, crocodiles and primitive whales.”

The researchers were able to estimate the size of Vasuki indicus by comparing the fossilized vertebrae to those of living snakes, said the Associated Press. 

pictures of fossils

Giant snakes similar in size to Vasuki indicus have been reported in modern times throughout the world. 

These claims, however, are typically dismissed as hoaxes. 

Cryptozoologists, or those who study “cryptids” – defined as “an animal (such as Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster) that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist” – point to many examples of these supposed creatures. 

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In South America, the “Yacumama” and “Sachamama” are legendary giant serpents that are said to reside in rivers, says the Peruvian travel website Travelling and Living in Peru.

These snakes were both described to be about 100 feet long. 

snake skin

During a 1980 episode of the British television show “Mysterious World,” Belgian Air Force Colonel Remy Van Lierde described a 50-foot snake that had lunged at his helicopter in 1959 when he was flying over what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

“I feel – and I’m convinced – that if I had been in its range, it would have struck at me,” said Van Lierde. 

He continued, “The head, I would say, was certainly 2-foot wide and 3-foot long. It could have easily eaten a man.” 

Van Lierde took a photograph he claims shows the snake. The photo’s authenticity is disputed. 

In 2023, a video boasting a similar claim about a 50-foot snake living in the Congo went viral on social media and was debunked by Reuters. 

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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