Tag Archives: Thailand rat snake

Red Tailed Racer – Non-Venomous – Not Dangerous

Red Tailed Racer Snake, Thailand
Red Tailed Racer – Non-Venomous – Not Dangerous

These Red Tailed Racers are beautiful green snakes with a grey or reddish tail. They are non-venomous but big enough to give you a strong bite. These snakes live for about 15 years on average – if they don’t encounter a predator like the King cobra.

Gonyosoma oxycephalum (Red Tailed Racer)
Discovered by Boie in 1827

Thai: (ngoo kee-ow kub maak)

Length: Max length about 2.5m (7.5+ feet) They are thick like your wrist and very strong, muscled snakes.

Range: All over Thailand.

Habitat: Red Tailed Racers prefer lowland and up to about 750m above sea level in jungle, agricultural (farmed) land, mangrove forests. They spend most of their time in trees and bushes.

Notes: These are common tree snakes that are also found in caves. They have beautiful greens, with white and black mixed in to their main body color. Their belly scales are rough and ideal for climbing trees. Their top scales are smooth. Identified easily by the dark streak across the eyes, and, if you’re close enough – the blue tongue that flickers in and out when aggravated. The tail is not always or even usually red… the ones I’ve seen are grey. They don’t always do well in captivity and can strike at anytime, though usually much more when aggravated first.

Active Time? Daytime.

Food: Rats, mice, birds, bats and lizards.

Natural Enemies: King cobras love to eat Red Tailed Racer snakes!

Defensive Behavior: They flare up their body vertically – not horizontally like the cobras. They puff themselves up vertically and turn this part sideways to you so they can strike fear into you. They do bite when pestered. They can strike from nearly any position, head facing away from you too. Be careful they have strong jaws.

Venom Toxicity: No venom dangerous to humans.

Offspring: Red tailed racers reach sexually maturity at 4 years. Between September and January this snake deposits small clutches of 3-8 eggs that hatch 45cm long baby red tailed racer snakes in 91 to 112 days.

Red Tailed Racer Snake, Non-Venomous, Thailand
We put this snake on the ground to get a full-body shot, usually it would not be on the ground – they much prefer the trees and bushes.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Gonyosoma
Species: G. oxycephalum

Binomial name: Gonyosoma oxycephalum

Video: Red Tailed Racer Eaten by King Cobra:

Ptyas Carinatus – Keeled Rat Snake

Ptyas carinatus - Keeled Rat Snake, a non-venomous snake in Thailand.

These are great snakes. They get big. This one is 2.75m. This is another one that hasn’t calmed down since being caught. They are rat snakes, so that’s what they prefer. Unfortunately we don’t see many rats around this area so I couldn’t catch one to feed it to him if I wanted to. If I find a pet store I’ll buy a couple rats and see if he’s hungry. Unfortunately these snakes die quickly after being caught – so it will probably become dinner for one of the big king cobras – if they’ll eat it.

There are some color variations in these snakes. Here’s a Ptyas carinatus I caught that was much more green.

Ptyas carinata – carinatus – Keeled Rat Snake

I found a lovely specimen of the Ptyas carinata snake on the way down a mountain this evening. It was about 6:45 pm and the sun had set 15 minutes before. I was running down the steps and took a few seconds to breathe – when I saw the snake on some limestone rocks beside me. It was dark, so it was hard to say – was it a king cobra? Kings are good climbers too. Was it a rat snake? I just couldn’t tell for a while. I looked at the tail multiple times (I was grabbing it by that point and trying not to get bitten by the snapping jaws).

The tails of a couple kinds of rat snake look JUST like the king cobra tails.

Eventually I realized it was a rat snake and quickly pulled my shirt off to attempt to locate his head in the pile of branches he was trying to twist though and get lost in.

I grabbed too low once and he twisted around and bit. The shirt was wrapped two times around my hand – so, no damage. It is very hard grabbing a 1.5 meter snake in the dark when you can’t see his head. No flashlight… nothing. Exciting – yes. If it was any bigger – it could have been REALLY exciting because I would have been bitten a couple of times I think.

Ptyas carinata are fast snakes and strong biters. They eat rats for god’s sakes… rats are tough little beasts.

I’ll have a full write up of the snake tomorrow, photos and videos. My good camera is with my wife who is traveling. I’ll have to make do with the iPhone camera. I’ll try to find some good light to shoot photos and video in tomorrow so the media doesn’t totally suck.

Here is the Ptyas carinata video I took of this snake:

Indochinese Rat Snake – Non Venomous – Not Dangerous

Indochinese Rat Snake - grey, from Thailand - Ptyas korros
Ptyas korros - Non Venomous - Not Dangerous

Ptyas korros (Indo-Chinese Rat Snake)

Thais say: (ngoo sing baan)

Length: Adults are just over 1 meter.

Range: All over Thailand and most of Asia including: Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Western Malaysia, and Singapore.

Habitat: Anywhere rats exist in abundance. They aren’t found on hills or in mountains, usually just the low-lying areas and where people and garbage are.

Active Time? Diurnal – active during daylight hours.

Food: Rats and other rodents, frogs and lizards. Much prefer rats. These are primarily rodent eaters and they vary little from their diet because there are usually plenty of rats available.

Defensive Behavior: Will flee very quickly if given the chance. If agitated, rat snakes bite quickly.

Venom Toxicity: No venom that is harmful to humans.


Notes: These are very common snakes, and are seen a lot because they prefer to be active during the daylight hours. They have very large eyes, which would make one think they can see well at night as well. These snakes can be held without striking (see video below).

Ptyas korros can be silver, grey, or brown – orange looking in color. Scales on the posterior part of the body and on the tail often yellow and edged with black. Underbelly is light yellow. Juvenile Indochinese rat snakes have a transverse series of round whitish spots or narrow yellow transverse bars.

Ptyas korros Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Ptyas
Species: korros
Binomial name: Ptyas korros
(Classified by Schlegel in year 1837.)

My Indochinese Rat Snake Photos:

Grey Indochinese rat snake in Thailand
Indochinese rat snakes eat predominantly rats and other rodents.

Another photo, showing same snake but darker exposure. It looks more brown toward the tail:

Indochinese rat snakes are silver, black, grey, brown, or orange in color.
Indochinese rat snakes are silver, black, grey, brown, or orange in color.

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake Video:

Juvenile Indo-Chinese Rat Snake