Are Snakes in Phuket, Thailand?

The elegant bronzeback in Phuket, Thailand. Dendrelaphis formosus.
One of the most beautiful bronzeback snakes in Thailand is the “Elegant bronzeback” – Dendrelaphis formosus. © Matt Wilson

Yes, many different snakes are in Phuket Town, Patong Beach, and in the forests around Phuket. You are not likely to see any unless you’re looking for them, or spending time in the forest, or on the edge of forests.

Common Snakes in Phuket

(Thanks to Matt Wilson for this list. Website | Instagram)

  1. Ornate flying snake (C. ornata)
  2. Oriental vine snake (A. prasina)
  3. Indo-Chinese rat snake (P. korros)
  4. Oriental rat snake (P. mucosus)
  5. Monocled cobra (N. kaouthia)
  6. Copperheaded racer (C. radiata)
  7. Red-neck keelback (R. subminiatus)
  8. Checkered keelback (X. piscator)
  9. Green cat snake (B. cyanea)
  10. Reticulated python (Python reticulatus)
  11. Wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri)
  12. Phuket pit viper (T. phuketensis)
  13. Triangle keelback (X. trianguligerus)
  14. Striped bronzeback (D. caudolineatus)
  15. Elegant bronzeback (D. formosus)
  16. Mock viper (P. pulverulentus)
  17. Mangrove pit viper (T. purpureomaculatus)

I get a lot of questions from people intending on visiting Phuket Island, Thailand about whether or not they might be successful looking for snakes on the island. I’ve been to Phuket many times, but the nightlife is what is usually attracting me, to be honest. But I have herped Phuket a couple of times years ago and I wasn’t very successful. There was nobody herping Phuket regularly for the longest time, so I didn’t have anything much to go on. These days I have a buddy there who has the place pretty dialed.

Wagler's Pit Viper, a tree viper, on Phuket Island, Thailand.
Phuket is one place Wagler’s pit vipers can be found. Also known as the “Temple Viper,” you might check out hilltop temples for these snakes in the rainforest close-by. This is a brightly colored female.

There is a forest complex on the northeast side of Phuket where most people choose to herp. Herping has been picking up considerably, and the guards are more restrictive from what I understand. At many Thailand National Parks, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to get in and walk around at night. Some places require a guide (Khao Sok, Khao Yai) and some don’t. Other parks say a guide is required sometimes, sometimes not. I have a good relationship with a couple of the national park’s officers near me so I’m lucky in that respect.

If you are stopped from herping at a park at night, try booking a bungalow IN the park and go out without the guard seeing you. This is what most people do.

There are many other snakes on Phuket Island than what are listed here. You can expect to see these snakes most if you’re on the island specifically looking for snakes.

Juvenile Reticulated Python has the potential to become the largest (longest) snake in the entire world.
This recently hatched Reticulated Python was only 60 cm long at birth and can grow to more than 8 meters long.

Snakes can show up anywhere in Thailand, and it’s best to be cautious of them, but know that snakes will only attack when they feel in danger. Do not provoke snakes or try to move them yourself if you’re not an expert on snakes in Thailand. There are 35 very dangerous snakes in the country you can read about here.

Do be cautious at night time to always have a torch or headlamp with you to illuminate your path. Cobras, kraits, coral snakes, and vipers are all active at night.

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