Fossil hunters working in an open-pit coal mine in Colombia have unearthed the remains of several giant prehistoric snakes, thought to be the largest ever to have slithered on earth.

The boa constrictor-like beasts, aptly named Titanoboas, weighed more than one and a quarter tonnes and measured at least 13m long from nose to tip. At their widest, the snakes would have come up to the waist of an adult human.

The partial skeletons of eight individuals were uncovered at the site, alongside the fossilised remains of what may have once have been the creatures' dinner: a 2m-long giant turtle and an ancient ancestor of the modern crocodile.

The fossils were encased in rock dating back 60m years, and so give scientists an unprecedented insight into the large animals that ruled the tropics after the sudden demise of the dinosaurs 65m years ago.

The largest living snakes today are the giant anaconda and reticulated python, though these only rarely grow to 9m long.

Story of the snake - watch here.
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