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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

AUBREY: GIANT SNAKES (FOR GOODNESS SAKES)




How would you like to possibly earn $50,000? The Wildlife Conservation
Society, as far as I read, is still offering a $50,000 reward for any snake at least 30 feet long. It must be delivered alive and in good health,
accompanied by all necessary permits and paperwork, to the Bronx Zoo in New York City. Now, before you embark on the Great Snake Hunt, there's something you should know.

The reward was first offered in the early 1900s by President Theodore
Roosevelt, a close friend of William T. Hornaday, the Bronx Zoo's director
at the time. And the money--initially $1,000, then $10,000, and now
$50,000--is still unclaimed. Why? Because it's quite possible that snakes don't grow that large.

Throughout history explorers' tales abound of giant snakes measuring 30, 40, and even 50 feet in length. For example, in 1907 a British adventurer named Percy Fawcett claimed to have shot a giant anaconda (Eunectes murinus) measuring 62 feet. Since Fawcett didn't think to bring back the carcass, few people believed his claim.

Guiness Book of World Records credits a reticulated python (Python reticulatus) that was slain on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 1912 as the longest snake ever reliably measured. According to Guinness, this whopper was 39.4 feet in length. A close second, Guinness maintains, was a 38.3-foot African rock python (Python sebae) shot on the Ivory Coast in 1932.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Richard Freeman would love to see these citations, because the largest snake of which we were aware was indeed shot in Sulawesi, we think in 1912, but we believe that it was a mere 33ft.

While there are those that claim 40 foot Anacondas exist, scientific studies indicate otherwise. In a recent survey of more than 1,000 wild anacondas in Brazil, the largest was around 17 feet and 100 pounds. So to claim there are anacondas out there 50, 80, 100 or even 120 feet long, slithering around in Peru or anywhere else in South America, I find ridiculous. You stand as great a chance of finding a 100-foot snake as you would a 40 pound pigeon. Good luck with that.

2 comments:

Richard Freeman said...

There is no bio-mechanical reason a snake cannot grow to 40, 50 or even 60 feet long. I think the green anaconda occationlly throws up these huge freak individuals. It seems that anacondas grow bigger in rivers than in swamps. This would make finding giants harder. I would be looking in remote, rarley visited tributaries and lakes linked with them. Columbia, Peru, Boliva, deepest Brazil and Guyana being the best bets. Snake expert and explorer Mark O'Shea told me that If a big female can live undisturbed and with a plentiful supply of food and putting most of her enegy into growing, she could become 50 feet or more in length.

Aubrey said...

Richard is a man of much knowledge and I respect him. I just love listening to both he and John every month "On the Track" I believe that snakes can grow upto lengths of 30 feet but I can't believe their are snakes that can grow to 40 feet and larger
Because one has never been found. I have read where snakeskins have been found measuring 50 feet in length and more but this is meaningless. I use to own hundreds of snakes as a young lad and could easily stretch a 4-foot skin to twice its length.