Categorized | rear-fanged

Golden Tree Snake – Mildly Venomous – Not Very Dangerous

Golden Tree Snake - Chrysopelea ornata ornatissima - Southern Thailand

Golden Tree Snake - Venomous - Little Danger to Humans

These Golden Tree Snakes are also known as Flying Snakes. They glide very well, perhaps the best of any snake in the world, and even better than some squirrels and lizards. Golden Tree Snakes are a lime green and black checkered type patterned snake. They are tree dwellers but can climb anything, even walls. They appear to have a favorite food – the Tokay Geckos that reach sizes of 12 inches long in adulthood. They are frequently seen eating Tokays.

Chrysopelea ornata ornatissima (Golden Tree Snake)
Thai language: Ngoo kee-ow ly dok mak

Appearance: Chrysopelea ornata in Thailand is lime green with some black and green cross hatches. This snake’s head is rather flat with a thin neck and atypical blunt nose, large eyes which sometimes are red depending on the angle.

Length: Up to 140 cm (almost 5 feet). They only get about as thick as 2-3 fingers held together.

Range: All over Thailand and many countries in Southeast Asia.

Habitat: Golden Tree Snakes can be found just about anywhere – in an apartment in Bangkok, or climbing bushes at 500 meters vertical elevation. Typically I see them at sea-level crossing the roads, or laying flat out along the stem of a low-lying palm tree branch.

Notes: If you’re trying to catch one of these snakes it can be very difficult. They are excellent escape artists and once they get into a clump of bushes or up a tree – forget it. Go look for something else, you won’t catch it. They can disappear in trees so fast it’s hard to believe.Occasionally you can find these in caves – they eat bats too.

Active Time? Diurnal – daytime.

Food: Small geckos, lizards, large Tokay geckos, rodents, bird eggs, insects, another snake occasionally, and bats. Golden Tree Snakes kill by squeezing the neck of their prey, crushing it.

Natural Enemies: King cobras and Kraits will eat these snakes when they can catch them. When they are small, birds eat them.

Defensive Behavior: Golden Tree Snakes (flying snakes) bite quickly when played with. As adults they may not lose that temperament. As babies – I have one now, they lose it quickly – and are OK with being held. They are very fast snakes when escaping.

Venom Toxicity: Rear fanged venomous snake – but the venom is not very dangerous to humans at all. Just the same, don’t let it bite down on you more than a second or two before you remove it. Don’t give this snake a chance to inject a lot of venom and you’ll likely be just fine if no allergies to it. There have been no confirmed cases of medically significant envenomation with Golden Tree Snakes.

Offspring: Little is known about the breeding habits of these snakes because nobody can seem to get them to mait while captive. Being oviparous it lays 6-12 eggs in May-June and they hatch in June. Baby snakes are 11-15cm long (4-6″)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Chrysopelea
Species: C. ornata
Binomial name: Chrysopelea ornata

Discovered, classified by Shaw, 1802

Golden Tree Snake Photo:

In Thailand the golden tree snakes typically have this coloration and pattern.

In Thailand the golden tree snakes typically have this coloration and pattern.

Video: My Baby Golden Tree Snake in Thailand:

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.

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- who has written 183 posts on Thailand Snakes | Venomous | Photos | Videos | ID.

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.

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10 Responses to “Golden Tree Snake – Mildly Venomous – Not Very Dangerous”

  1. Ralph Stinson says:

    I am looking for information on a mixed breed …cobra and green snake ..does it exist. If it does, is there a picture or information.

    thank You

  2. Ward says:

    Hi Vern,

    I have currently four of these residing in my bathroom and like you wrote catching them is near to impossible. Any advice on what to do next? All Thais in my surroundings simply suggest killing them but that’s not exactly something I would like to do.
    Please your two cents.

    Thanks in advance.
    Ward, Chanthaburi

    • Vern says:

      Can you open a window and let them out? Otherwise, you could make a little catcher out of pvc pipe (small diameter) and put a rope through it, loop out one end, and then the other end has both free ends. Use it to catch the snake in it, and then move it outside. They are not venomous at all, though they will try to bite and are very fast. A wound is like a pin prick. (tatoo?).

      • Ward says:

        Hi Vern, thnx for your reply,
        Letting them out through a window is not an option since they can go in and out of the bathroom many ways, as a fact they live in my house from before I moved in about a year ago now. They live in the walls and the thatched ceiling and we never actually saw them until now. We recently cut some branches off a tree next to the house and we guess that now during the hot season it’s getting to hot for them in the roof so they’re coming down to hide from the heat in my bathroom during the day.

        Problem has halved in the meantime btw, I was out of the house for a few days and the neighbour killed two already on the gf’s request…
        Will try to use your trap before I’ve got to leave the house again…

        Thnx for the advice,
        Keep up the great site,
        grtz, wrd, chanthaburi

  3. Moke Jr. says:

    I taught English in a high school in Satun and once or twice a year the girls began screening and the whole class ran out into the halls. The cause was always a baby Golden Tree Snake which I realize now was a teacher prank allowing them to stretch their legs and make loud noise. My students came from families that lived on rubber plantations and they were well acquainted with snakes.

    Moke

    • Vern says:

      Interesting. I’ve not heard of any English teachers in Satun. That is a real Thai town! How’d you like it there? Why is your name Moke? In Hawaii a Moke was a big badass guy, probably well over 250 lbs. Like a killer. lol. Your email address is from Canada… hmm. They have mokes in Canada? lol…

      • Moke Jr. says:

        Vern, my cat is named Moke. She lives in Satun. Her mom Gat is a master of the wilds. I spent many days on my Honda Wave looking for snakes, dead or alive. Satun is so green and nice. I never got hot there like I did in Ratchiburi. I saw that baby cobra YouTube. That was new for me. As for English teachers in Satun, there are probably ten in total.

        Moke’s Sidecick

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  1. [...] are similar – and you’ve probably seen them – they are much more common…Here is one ->Flying snakes are not very dangerous. I’ve been bitten by them many times, and never had [...]

  2. [...] information available at the Chrysopelea ornata ornatissima fact sheet -> Join the forum discussion on this [...]


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