Black Snake in Thailand – What Is It?

Black Thailand Snake, Ptyas carinata - Keeled Rat Snake.
One of Thailand’s black snakes – Keeled Rat Snake (P. carinata).

I get a lot of snake ID requests with very little information. One of the top requests is:

“I found a black snake about a meter long, can you tell me what it is?”

That’s an impossible request because there are just too many meter long black snakes in the country. Confounding that is the fact that when a snake is moving, and has a well defined pattern, but is overall dark or black colored – someone can see it as black.

Snakes of any species can be very dark, even black. The term is “melanistic.” They have an abundance of melanin, which makes them appear some degree darker than is typical for the species. This is a rather common occurrence.

So, it’s quite a stretch to start guessing snakes even when the exact Thailand province is known.

That all said, here are some snakes which can be black without melanism. They are relatively patternless and you might see any of these in Thailand.

Thailand Black Snake Length When Fully Grown

Over 4 Meters Long

  • King Cobra
  • Burmese Python
  • Reticulated Python

3-4 Meters

  • Keeled Rat Snake
  • Oriental (Banded) Rat Snake (P. mucosa)

2-3 Meters

  • Indo-Chinese Rat Snake (P. korros)
  • White-bellied Rat Snake
  • Boonsong’s Mountain Keelback
  • Javan File Snake

Under 1 Meter

  • Blunt Headed Slug Snake
  • White Spotted Slug Snake
  • Vertebral Slug Snake
  • Mangrove Cat Snake (Black on top, yellow bands may not be visible)
  • Mountain Bronzeback
  • Dark Wolf Snake
  • Malayan Banded Wolf Snake (adults are bandless)
  • Inornate Kukri Snake
  • Grey Kukri Snake
  • Common Many-toothed Snake
  • Malayan Mountain Keelback
  • White-bellied Mangrove Snake
  • Tweedie’s Mountain Reed Snake
  • Malayan Mountain Reed Snake
  • Variable Reed Snake
  • Yellow-bellied Sea Snake
  • Blue Malayan Coral Snake
  • Red-headed Krait
  • Equatorial Spitting Cobra
  • Indo-Chinese Spitting Cobra
  • Monocellate Cobra
  • Mangrove Pit Viper

Keep in mind that any of the snakes in the section other than Under 1 Meter – can be juvenile snakes.

This list is not comprehensive, but it covers common snakes in the country of Thailand.

When you ask for a snake to be identified, please give us as much information as possible.

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