Red Tailed Pipe Snake – Non Venomous – Not Dangerous

Red Tailed Pipe Snake from Thailand
Red Tailed Pipe Snake - non venomous - small. The white - black pattern of half stripes is the belly. The top is completely black.

The red-tailed pipe snake is a beautiful snake, though at first glance you might wonder if it is a snake at all! It has a very flat appearance for the tail region, and very black on the top. The head is so small you might think it’s a large fat worm. The eyes are very small. This snake spends a lot of time in the dirt looking for grubs, maggots, and very small larvae and things.

Cylindrophis ruffus ruffus (Red Tailed Pipe Snake)

Thais say: (ngoo kon kob)

Length: max about .9 meters (90cm, 35.5 inches)

Range: All over Thailand on flat ground and at some elevation up to 1700 meters.

Notes: I currently have one of these red tail pipe snakes at my home – they are beautiful snakes. Their top is black and has a radiance like a sunbeam snake – you know that rainbow appearance when the sunlight hits it? Beautiful. Then, on the underside the bands of black and white don’t line up – so it’s very different. The bands will turn red and black as the juvenile red tailed pipe snake ages. The head is very small and the eyes – almost impossible to see.

Habitat: The snake lives on the ground and in rat holes and termite mounds, under stumps or rocks and in other cool, damp places. Recently I saw photos of one in some limestone rocks here in Thailand. I’ve seen large 2m dead banded krait just on the outside of a rubber plantation. They prefer wide open areas. They have been found as high as 5,000 feet in Malaysia and about 2,300 meters in Thailand.

Active Time? The snake is mostly nocturnal and is active at night.

Food: Brahminy blind snakes, insect larvae, small frogs and worms.

Defensive Behavior: This pipe snake hides the head under loops of it’s body and flips it’s red tail end up in the air – flattening it – as if like a cobra. Thais call this the 2-head snake because it wants you to think it has two. In an hour of handling this snake, it made no move to bite at all. That doesn’t mean it won’t, but they are not all that inclined to bite. Their mouth is VERY small and they’d have to catch you just right to bite you.

Venom Toxicity: None that affects humans.

Offspring: This snake has 5-10 young, born live, about 20 cm long (about 8 inches).

Red Tailed Pipe Snake’s Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Cylindrophiidae
Genus: Cylindrophis
Species: C. ruffus

Binomial name
Cylindrophis ruffus
Classified by Laurenti in year 1768

Belly and Tail of Red Tailed Pipe Snake native to Thailand
Belly side.
Top of Red Tailed Pipe Snake in Thailand
The top of this snake is completely black and patternless. The body is relatively flat shaped, and can be made very flat when it chooses.

Red Tailed Pipe Snake video:

About Vern Lovic

All posts by Vern Lovic. Amateur herpetologist roaming about Thailand on field herping trips to find cobras, kraits, coral snakes, and other snakes native to Thailand. Thailand has over 200 snake species with many of them venomous.

5 thoughts on “Red Tailed Pipe Snake – Non Venomous – Not Dangerous”

  1. I have red tailed pipe snake in my home..my sister gave it to me 5 days ago..she said i can feed it with small fish after it poop..yesterday it was poop but til now it doesn’t want eat..
    I’m afraid it’ll die..
    This is my first time pet snake..can u help me? :(

    1. hi –

      they don’t eat fish. they eat things in the dirt – like termites, ants, and termite and ant eggs.

      you might try putting some small meal worms in the dirt too – alive.

      you should have a lot of dirt that it can bury itself in – they need to dig holes. keep the dirt lose.

      Good luck!

      Cheers,

      Vern

  2. i just released him or her about 30 mins ago. What a shamed i feel i want to pet him now!
    i found him while i was washing my stuff. he’s just so amazing beautiful. by the way, i let him free in the bush and a bit of water next to the bush in shadow pretty nice place for this kind of snake. oh ! i feel so shamed! i should have pet for a day before let him free or even put him in the garden. now i’m going to have a look if he still there! wish me a luck :)

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