America's 8 Largest  Living Reptiles

11th March, 2024


Size: Can grow up to 15 feet long, with some reaching 1,000 pounds. Habitat: Swamps, lakes, and rivers throughout the southeastern US. Watch Out For: Their powerful bite and surprising bursts of speed on land.

American Alligator

Eastern Indigo Snake

Size: The longest native snake in the US, reaching lengths of over 8 feet. Habitat: Found in the coastal plain of the southeastern US, it prefers scrub and pine forests. Remarkable Fact: Non-venomous, this powerful constrictor is a significant predator. 

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Size: The most giant sea turtle in the world, reaching up to 6 feet long and over 1,500 pounds. Habitat: Oceans worldwide, but comes to US coastlines (Atlantic and Pacific) to lay eggs. Conservation Corner: Endangered due to habitat loss and fishing gear entanglement.

Common Snapping Turtle

Size: Can reach shell lengths of over 18 inches and weigh up to 35 pounds. Habitat: Slow-moving rivers, lakes, and ponds throughout the eastern US. Watch Out: For Their surprisingly powerful bite! These turtles will defend themselves if handled. 

Gopher Tortoise

Size: Shells average 10-15 inches in length, reaching weights of over 15 pounds. Habitat: Found in dry, sandy habitats in the southeastern US, especially pine forests. Remarkable Fact: "Keystone Species" – their burrows shelter over 350 other animals! 

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Size: The largest venomous snake in the US, reaching lengths up to 8 feet. Habitat: Pine forests, coastal plains, and swamps of the southeastern US. Important Note: Venomous and potentially dangerous. Admire from a safe distance and listen for their warning rattle. 

Gila Monster

Size: Largest native lizard in the US, reaching up to 2 feet long. Habitat: Deserts and arid scrublands of the southwestern US and northern Mexico. Remarkable Fact: The only venomous lizard in the US.

Green Iguana

Size: Can reach lengths of up to 6 feet and weigh over 15 pounds. Habitat: Native to Central and South America, but now invasive in Florida.