These are fast, tree climbing snakes that are active during the daytime and are frequently found in residential areas. They love frogs and lizards, from what I’ve seen them eat.
These snakes are exceptionally beautiful. They are rather nervous – meaning, they are very aware of what is going on around them – like an Indo-Chinese rat snake – antsy and ready to bolt in a second if given the opportunity. This one is in an aquarium, and when I slid the top off to the back just slightly – it was enough for him to fly out of the top and almost lost in the tree next to us. I was able to get his tail and put him back in the cage without any problem, but it reinforced just how fast these snakes are – similar to the golden tree snakes in speed and habit, personality.
These are like the road runner of snakes – they are super fast, thin, and agile. They can climb trees and bushes faster than any other snake I’ve seen, and they are wicked fast on the strike. Yesterday I saw one strike so fast I couldn’t see it. That’s fast.
These are very common snakes here in Thailand, they are definitely one of the top 5 snakes you are likely to see in this country. On average I see 1-2 a week – without looking for them. They are constantly snaking across the roads. I have given chase about a dozen times and was only fast enough to catch them 4 out of 12 times. Once they hit the green brush – forget it man – they are impossible to find or catch if you do see them. So, the best chance to catch this snake is on the road if you can jump off your motorcycle or out of your vehicle fast enough.
These snakes bite fast and often, and they do have venom, but the venom is only toxic to frogs, lizards, and other small animals – not usually humans. If you happen to be allergic to the venom, you could still go into shock, though I’ve not seen any cases of this in the literature.
One friend I have said, out of all the snakes in Thailand (about 200) – he likes the monocled cobras the best.
I asked – why?
They are always angry and ready to bite! They never chill out. They never relax. They are always ready to serve up a plate of death for you – if you’re dumb enough to get too close.
He has yet to be bitten by the monocled cobra, but he works with snakes everyday and he’s right – these snakes were born to kill. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 12 inch juvenile Naja kaouthia – like this one in the photo is – they are ready to kill you if you make one mistake.
I’ve kept the smaller monocled cobras for a short time – two weeks at most. I find that I have to watch them very, very closely. Every second I’m working with them – my eyes are on them and aware of what they are doing and what they could do. I don’t take any chances with these snakes. I have seen first-hand the damage their venom does. It is not pretty stuff.
He asked me too – what is your favorite snake?
I do like the King Cobra – and that’s what I answered, since I couldn’t think fast enough. Even now – if you ask me – I’m not sure. The Malayan kraits are very interesting snakes… as are the monocled cobras, and the king cobras. I definitely like Ridley’s Racer as well – the one that lives in caves and catches bats in mid-air. That’s a cool snake. Some of the big rat snakes are very cool – a lot of energy and wicked fast.
All in all – you know, it might just be the king cobra!
What is your favorite snake? Have you caught one before? Seen one before?
Length: Males are about 1/2 meter and females are typically just over 1 meter.
Description: Short stubby snakes with large (in comparison to body and neck) triangular heads.
Range: Thailand, on the far west coast from far north to the very far south along the peninsula. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Vietnam, Tibet.
Habitat: The mountain pit viper pictured above was found at the base of a waterfall on damp ground covered with small round rocks. These snakes can also be found up over 2,000 meters in altitude. They seem to prefer tea plantations and other areas with a lot of vegetation. They have also been found in homes.
The exact location of the snake here was Ton Pariwat Waterfall in Phang Nga, Thailand.
Active Time: The literature says nocturnal, but this snake was found in bright sunshine in the middle of the day.
Food: Mice and other rodents and small mammals, lizards, insectivores. One guy that keeps these snakes posted in a forum that his mountain viper bites the prey and constricts it too and wonders why the overkill when most vipers will bite and hold, or bite and follow until the prey dies. I think this probably has something to do with the mountain viper not being all that mobile. I couldn’t imagine it going fast through brush to chase something down that wasn’t dead yet. Especially the males of the species – they look like slugs – short and fat.
Defensive Behavior: These snakes hiss loudly and strike quickly. We don’t have information about fang-length, but the head resembles the Malayan Pit Viper which has very long fangs. As usual with venomous snakes, great care should be taken when in close proximity.
Venom Toxicity: The venom has been known to cause fatalities. The rating by Toxinology.com was mid-scale, meaning moderate to seriously toxic.
Bite Treatment: Bite victims of the Malayan mountain pit viper will be painful, swell, have blistering and minimal or no necrosis, bleeding and shock may result.
Antivenom: There is no antivenom
Notes: The snake shown here was found by a 6 year old boy who was kicking it. He thought it was a stick that was bouncing back at him when he kicked it. Turns out the snake was striking repeatedly. The boy was not bitten, his mother saw him and stopped him. These are slow moving snakes, terrestrial and primarily nocturnal the literature reads – but this snake was found in the sunshine in the heat of the day.
Length: Up to about 1.5 meters. The males are a bit more red on top, and slightly thinner.
Range: The Striped Bronzeback is found in southern Thailand through the Malaysian Peninsula, and to Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the Philippines. The snake shown here was caught in Tub Kaak, Krabi Province in southern Thailand.
Habitat: Forests and lowlands up to about 1,500 meters. They are found on trees primarily, and often on the ground too in search of prey.
Active Time? Diurnal – daylight.
Food: Frogs, lizards, some say small birds in the nest.
Defensive Behavior: A quick bite – coiled beforehand, or not. I was bitten when I grabbed his tail when I first saw him. I expected it. He caused a little blood on the top of my pointer finger by the big knuckle. There are a couple of small bumps there now. I experienced no serious symptoms.
Venom Toxicity: No venom. No danger.
Notes: Striped bronzeback snakes are somewhat larger than the other bronzebacks, and can get up to about 1.5 meters. The one in the photo and video below was caught at about 300 meters elevation (900+ feet) on a fallen tree. I stepped over the tree and the snake fell to the ground and attempted to hide under another rotting tree stump. I had to decide in about 1 second whether the snake was venomous and whether I could step lightly on his tail to stop him from disappearing. I saw the tell-tale head shape and stripe down the side and knew it was a bronzeback, but there are about 6 species of bronzeback in Thailand. I hadn’t caught one of these until today.
These snakes are diurnal – active during daylight hours and are excellent climbers, as all bronzebacks are. They are twitchy snakes, and this one bit me when I first grabbed him. I had to pull him off my index finger slowly to prevent injuring him. He bit down hard for his tiny size (about 10 inches). These snakes love frogs and other small animals – geckos included.
This species of bronzeback has a black stripe on a light background running from it’s neck to it’s tail. The belly is white or yellowish. This snake does not have the stripe across the eye like some of the other bronzebacks. The top of the head is brown – bronze color as is the top of this snake’s back.
The eye is large, like a rat snake, and the head is long almost like a whip snake, but wider in comparison to the body. Unlike other bronzebacks, the vertebral scales are not enlarged but are narrow in shape. Its lower cheeks and lips are pale yellow with small black marks or stripes running vertically near the snout.
Striped Bronzeback Scientific Classification:
Species: D. caudolineatus
(Discovered by Gray in the year 1834)
Found another one of these whip snakes – they are supposed to be either red or brown… I guess this could be called brown. The head is more brown. The neck and up to the stomach is silver… with some black patches… and then the tail is reddish brown. It could well be the red variety because as I compare photos with the other brown whip snake I had before – they are quite different in coloration. This one is predominantly silver – for the neck and down to the beginning of the tail. The tail gets dark – and there is a reddish tint to the brown… So, not sure.
Lovely snakes. These are vine snakes and very fast in the wild. I found him on the ground amongst leaves and rocks… sandy dirty. He was about to enter an 8 inch diameter drain pipe. It did take a bit to catch him – and once I got him he was fine – no bites until I had to grab his tail to pick him up. He was not ok with that and tagged my finger very quickly – a little blood.
There were people around and they were all screaming Pit Pit! (Venomous) It isn’t… Thais call all snakes venomous – which is part of the problem here – they kill any snake they see, insisting it’s venomous. The other part of the problem is that in Thailand there are 60+ venomous snakes. Most people can’t be bothered to study them all and know the difference. I don’t know all of them either.
This one I knew though. Great snake – will keep it for a couple of days and let it go where I found it.
Common names: Keel-bellied vine snake; keel-bellied whip snake; brown whip snake; red whip snake (more red).
These are great snakes for a couple of reasons. Number 1 – their colors. This snake looks like Christmas – right? Amazing oranges, greens, and blacks make it very unique.
Number 2? They fly. Well, they glide very far when they jump from a high vantage point. They can glide dozens of meters – and probably more. These snakes are limited only by how high they are when they jump. Typically they use their gliding ability to travel from tree to tree in search of prey, or to elude capture by a predator.
Name: Chrysopelea paradisi. Paradise Tree Snake. Also called “Paradise flying snake.”
Length: As long as 1.2 meters (almost 4 feet)
Appearance: Very similar in all aspects to C. ornata with the exception of scale coloration. C. paradisi has black scales on the neck and body which have a green or yellow dot in the center of each scale. Scales on the dorsal near the vertebral column may have an orange or reddish coloration. Some call this the flower pattern. Great variation occurs as to how much orange is evident on the dorsal area – some have on the head, and completely down the body to the tail. Others have some orange on the head and a little bit on the neck, and none of the rest of the body.
Range: Thailand-wide. This one was found in Krabi province at sea-level in a handbag shop at the beach. We’ve found them in rainforest near a Thailand resort as well.
Habitat: Bushes, ground, trees, roofs. They are often found in palm tree fronds. I have found them there as well as small trees with big leaves and a lot of open area so they can see – presumably. I have found them as high as 500 meters vertically up a mountain in Thailand, and at sea level. Recently we found one 7 meters up a large tree on a hot sunny day.
Active Time? Diurnal – active during the day in trees and bushes, and occasionally on the ground.
Food: House geckos, Tokay geckos, lizards, bats, and frogs.
Defensive Behavior: They bite very quickly, but have small mouths and teeth. There has been no medically significant case of envenomation mentioned in the literature. They are considered harmless for humans and probably pets over the size of a cat.
Venom Toxicity: Weak for humans. Effective for geckos, frogs and bats. These are rear-fanged colubrids and a prolonged bite could cause swelling and pain at the bite site.
Offspring: They produce eggs which hatch during May/June in Thailand.
Notes:C. Paradisi is distinguished from C. ornata by the orange/red coloration at the top of the body, sometimes at the head, sometimes more of the body is colored, and sometimes the entire head and body are covered in the red flower like scale patterns.
Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Suborder: Serpentes Family: Colubridae Subfamily: Colubrinae Genus: Chrysopelea Species: C. paradisi Binomial name – Chrysopelea paradisi Classified by Boie, in the year 1827
These yellow-spotted keelback (Xenochropis flavipunctatus) snakes are rear-fanged and do have venom, however there are no reported deaths from them. The snake would need to bite hard and chew the venom into wound for a minute or so in order to really envenomate a human. Not many humans are willing to let a strong biting snake do that. Don’t you be the first!
Thailand Snakes covers venomous and non-venomous snakes in Thailand and surrounding countries. Cobras, Kraits, Vipers, Corals, Rat Snakes, Tree Snakes, Whip Snakes, Pipe Snakes, Kukris, Pythons, and more.