Titanoboa slithers into Sternberg

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Measuring 48 feet long and coming in at 2,500 pounds, the now extinct Titanoboa — in all its frightening, massive glory — overshadows any reptile alive. Discovered in a Colombian coal mine in 2009, it is a creature whose discovery rivals that of the Tyrannosaurus Rex in greatness. The titan of the snakes is making its way across the country and will be slithering into Hays this summer.

Now is your chance to meet this king of the snakes in person at Sternberg Museum of Natural History. Sternberg will display a life-sized replica of the Titanoboa on loan from the Smithsonian for a short time this summer, giving residents and travelers a rare opportunity to come face-to-face with the largest snake in history.

Having existed 58 million years ago during the Paleocene epoch, the creature would not have wrestled with the likes of the T-Rex. Instead, massive crocodiles likely would have been its dinner. The Titanoboa and its story were featured on the Smithsonian Channel on the TV show “Titanoboa: Monster Snake”, which aired in April 2012.

Museum director Dr. Reese Barrick is eager for the arrival of the exhibition, noting Sternberg has been on the waiting list for two years.

“We have featured living snake exhibits here at the museum for a while, such as Rattlers, which features dozens of rattlesnake species from across the Americas. Titanoboa follows the fascination people have with snakes,” Barrick said.

The new exhibit might remind visitors of the SuperCroc exhibit in 2010, which featured the largest crocodile in Earth’s history. Titanoboa is even bigger than SuperCroc.

“The museum’s current exhibit “Bringing Fossils to Life” features our fossils with live animals that are associated in some way with the fossils,” Barrick said.

“So this fits in nicely with the Titanoboa exhibition. We will also be featuring a live boa constrictor with Titanoboa when it arrives.”

The exhibit will be on display from May 9 to Aug. 15.

For additional information, contact Sternberg at (785) 628-4286.