Common Snakes Frequently Found in Thailand

[Last Updated: 8 May 2017]

Common Thailand Snakes

When visiting Thailand on vacation or for a long-term stay there are certain snakes you are likely to see and others that you will probably never see, even if you’re looking very hard to find them. On this page is a selection of common (frequently found) snakes in Thailand. If you want a FREE EBOOK of COMMON THAILAND SNAKES in PDF format – CLICK HERE.

Non-Venomous and Mildly Venomous and Harmless Snakes

Green Cat Snake - Boiga cyanea. Harmless. Southern Thailand
Green Cat Snake – Boiga cyanea. Harmless and somewhat common in some areas. Eat geckos, birds, bird eggs at night when they are active. Length to over 2 meters.

Green Cat Snake (Boiga cyanea) This snake is almost 2 meters long when fully grown, and resembling the vipers – except it’s too long to be a viper. Be very careful with any green snake as there are many vipers with strong venom that are green and look very similar to this one. Green vipers typically have brown colored tails. This snake has a solid green tail. The Green Cat Snake shown in the photo is harmless, and didn’t even try to bite as I interacted with it on my porch in Southern Thailand around midnight.


Juvenile Indo-Chinese rat snake from Thailand - common and harmless.
Indo-Chinese rat snake (Ptyas korros) juvenile. Harmless. When adult these snakes are either brown, grey (silver), or black.

One rat snake, the Indo-Chinese Rat SnakePtyas korros, is especially common, but the adult does look very much like the monocled cobras to the untrained eye. Do be very cautious of any snake that is solid brown, grey, black, or that is mostly dark with some white spots – speckles or odd pattern. Cobras are quick to bite and one of the most deadly daylight snakes you’ll encounter. There is a photo of the monocled cobra below.

Venomous Snakebites and Near Misses from Southeast Asia.
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Thailand Snake - Red Tailed Racer, Gonyosoma oxycephalum
Found often in southern Thailand – the Red Tailed Racer, Gonyosoma oxycephalum. Harmless, but of course they do bite.

Red-tailed Racer (Gonyosoma oxycephalum) This is a fairly large rat snake reaching around 2.1 meters in length. It has no fangs to deliver venom, and can be considered harmless for humans. It does bite, of course, so stay out of reach. This is an incredibly beautiful snake with green hues, blue-green eyes, and black and blue tongue. Stunning!

If you haven’t yet read this book about Dr. Joe Slowinski – biologist bitten by a many-banded krait in Burma in 2001 – you really should. It’s an excellent read, and ALL SNAKE HOBBYISTS SHOULD READ IT >


Radiated Rat Snake - Copperhead Racer
Radiated Rat Snake – Coelognathus radiata. Harmless, but frequent biters when a person gets too close.

Radiated Rat Snake / Copper-headed Racer (Coelognathus radiata) – These are very common and may even qualify as one of the most commonly seen snakes in Thailand. Non-venomous and not dangerous, except they are big biters. Many small teeth. A bite can hurt and get infected because the teeth easily break off inside the skin. Color hue ranges from yellow to brown, There is another rat snake that looks very similar – the “Malayan Racer” which is very dark brown with a slightly different pattern (Coelognathus flavolineatus).


Yellow Spotted Keelback from Southern Thailand
Keelback snake from the Xenochrophis genus.

Keelback SnakesKeelbacks are very common ground snakes and love water. You might see them in the water or on the ground moving around. Keelbacks are generally easily identified by distinct black (dark) lines from the eye area toward the jaw. Most keelbacks in Thailand are not very dangerous, but there are a couple in the “Rhabdophis” genus that are to be considered dangerous and potentially capable of a deadly bite. We have one featured in the venomous section below (Rhabdophis subminiatus).


Golden Tree Snake - Chrysopelea ornata. Southern Thailand
Golden Tree Snake – Chrysopelea ornata. Common, harmless, but mildly venomous, and can kill or stun geckos and lizards.

Golden Tree Snake (Chrysopelea ornata) A very common tree snake across Thailand, and their favorite food appears to be Tokay Geckos (Gekko gecko), so you may see one at your home. These snakes have a mild venom that doesn’t generally affect humans at all. These snakes do traverse across the ground but quickly find a tree when threatened. Masterful and very fast climbers! Common in homes, garages, and other structures.


Thailand Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis) Snake Strikes
Bronzeback snakes have a number of different patterns, but they are all long, thin, and generally brown and yellow until they flare the lateral sides and show other patterns and colors. Harmless for humans. Dendrelaphis genus.

Bronzeback Snakes – also incredibly adept and fast climbers, I first saw one as it came over my six-foot concrete wall in the back of the house in Surat Thani. Very thin snakes, not that afraid of humans. This snake bites quickly – as you might guess from the photo. To be honest, I’m holding the tail so I can get a good photo before it quickly disappears. Mildly venomous colubrids, and not dangerous to humans. There are many species of this snake, all look vaguely similar.


Oriental Whip Snake - Southern Thailand
Oriental Whip Snake; Green Whip Snake. Common mildly-venomous snake which cannot harm humans. Ultra thin and very long snakes to around 2 meters. Ahaetulla prasina.

Oriental Whip Snakes (Ahaetulla prasina and Ahaetulla mycterizans)  Very common snakes, and usually found in trees during day (active) or night (sleeping), but I have found many whip snakes on the ground as they hunted lizards and frogs. The bright fluorescent green in this snake is awesome, isn’t it? These snakes have a mild venom, but again, no serious results of envenomation have occurred in humans. Other color variations: yellow, very light green with much more white (A. mycterizans), grey, brown. There is also a speckle-headed whip snake which isn’t found very often.


Venomous and Deadly Common Snakes

Malayan Pit Viper - Southern Thailand Venomous and Deadly Snake
Malayan Pit Viper. Very toxic venom destroys tissue of all kinds. Potentially fatal bites, but if you reach a hospital quickly – you will likely be fine. Calloselasma rhodostoma.

Malayan Pit Viper (Calloselasma rhodostoma) A very dangerous pit viper with strong necrotoxic venom which is potentially deadly. This common brown pit viper is the cause of death for more people in Thailand than any other snake. It bites quickly and is lazy to get out of the way if you’re walking toward it, usually it just lays still. Always found at ground level, and often on top of, or just under leaves. Maximum length – about 1 meter long.


Monocled Cobra - adult. Potentially deadly bites, necrotoxic and neurotoxic venom makes this snake especially dangerous. One of Thailand's most dangerous snakes.
Monocled cobra – deadly and common across most of Thailand. These are black or brown colored snakes which flatten the neck into a hood. Their venom is very strong. Don’t try to catch or kill this cobra by yourself. Some cobras can spray venom 2-3 meters into your eyes.

Monocled Cobras. Be especially careful of cobra snakes which can spit venom 2-3 meters away (farther with a strong wind!). They can temporarily blind you as they make their getaway, but the problem is your eyes will be burning until you can flush them with water for 10-20 minutes, and visit the hospital to ensure they are properly cleaned. Photo above (click to enlarge) is of the Monocled Cobra (Naja kaouthia)


Red Neck Keelback Snake - Rhabdophis subminiatus in Southern Thailand
Red-necked keelbacks prefer low vegetation around water. Though they are not big biters, and flee at every opportunity, they have a potentially deadly bite. Rhabdophis subminiatus.
Red necked keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus) is now classified as a deadly venomous snake.
Red Necked keelback – do not keep as a pet – bites can cause serious kidney damage, even death.

Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus) Brightly colored and very common snakes that become more brightly patterned when agitated. These brightly colored snakes are found in captivity across the globe. They were previously considered non-venomous and not dangerous until recently. Death has occurred as a direct result of envenomation from this species, though not in Thailand. In Thailand we have had a number of close calls. Renal failure after bites is one of the possible potentially deadly outcomes. This is one of the few snakes which is venomous and poisonous. There is a poison secreted in dorsal (top) side of the neck area near the head which can be dangerous to pets or people licking them. You know, in case you ever got the urge. In some cases, the Red-necked Keelback can spray the poison from the neck in a very fine mist.


Malayan Krait - Bungarus candidus, from Southern Thailand. Common, dangerous, deadly, and size is usually about 1 meter long.
Adult Malayan (Blue) Krait from Thailand. These are common across much of the country, and have a very potent neurotoxic venom. Contact with this krait should be avoided. Bungarus candidus.

Malayan Krait. Kraits are all venomous and potentially deadly. They are active by night for the most part, though I have seen Red-Headed Kraits (Bungarus flaviceps) active during daylight twice. The Banded Krait and the Malayan or “Blue” krait are both deadly snakes – the former with yellow and black bands about the same thickness, and the latter with black and white bands, the black bands are thicker near the neck, and more evenly spaced farther down on the tail.


Small-spotted coral snake from Southern Thailand, Krabi province. (Calliophis maculiceps)
Dangerous and potentially deadly, this small snake looks harmless enough. The Small-spotted Coral Snake (Calliophis maculiceps).

Small-spotted Coral. There is one coral snake worth mentioning, not because it’s all that common, but because it tends to be around the gardens – even in potted plants. This is the “Small-spotted Coral Snake.” It is very small – around 35cm as an adult, and it looks harmless enough. It should be considered dangerous – and capable of potentially deadly bites.

Venomous Snakebites and Near Misses from Southeast Asia.
Save 50% if you order before April 15!

Venomous Snakebites and Near Misses!

More than 34 stories of venomous snakebite and very near misses from Southeast Asia’s most deadly snakes – King Cobra, Malayan Pit Viper, Monocled Cobra, Banded Krait, Malayan Krait, and more! Digital Book with over 100 pages by Vern Lovic.

Order PDF HERE! or, at Amazon HERE!

JUST $4.99 for Today!

About Vern Lovic

Snake posts by Vern Lovic. Amateur herpetologist roaming about Thailand on field herping tours and events to find king cobras, kraits, vipers, corals, keelbacks, and other snakes native to Thailand. FYI - Thailand has over 200 snake species. Here's our latest book with detailed information on Thailand's 35 Deadly Snakes. "Is That Snake In Your House Dangerous? Identify Deadly Thailand Snakes In Under 5 Minutes!" INFO HERE.

36 thoughts on “Common Snakes Frequently Found in Thailand”

  1. I absolutely love your site. I am a novice herpetologist enthusiast at best and while I would love to know what snakes I run across, the ones in Thailand seem incredibly dangerous and unpredictable.

    Any chance you are a lizard enthusiast as well?

    1. Hi Ron – thanks for your comment. I like lizards a lot – but, I can’t possibly manage to learn about everything and keep it straight in my head. I have a lot of lizard videos and snake videos at my YouTube site here: Thailand Videos

  2. I like your site, very interesting.

    We have some snakes living in and around our garden. When I say some, I mean one very, very big python, which I made a short video of and it looks like it has a dog or something similar inside it, making its slow way into the undergrowth outside.

    We have found a clutch of about 40, hand sized eggs that the neighbor sent to the local vet.

    We have in the last few weeks seen a fairly big, 1 metre, green diamond backed snake that our dog saw off. That was in our garden, it’s now under some wood in the garden and me, my wife, the maid and the kids are a bit scared to go near it as it was fast.
    We had a constrictor outside our kitchen, behind a rubbish bin that was eating a frog and looked a bit like the 1 metre snake with the diamond back, but was much smaller. The one eating the frog was only about 1 foot long.
    Not long ago a python was climbing our tree outside, it was about 4, 5 feet and not very thick, about twice a thumb thickness.
    I fight with my wife all the time as she tries to kill them and I have to stop her, although I must say, I am getting a bit tired of how frequently they appear.

    Keep up the good site, it must take a lot of your time keeping it updated, but worth it.

    The large python

    http://youtu.be/LuSJJlxVltc

    The frog eating snake

    http://youtu.be/6FVzNJjTgm0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FVzNJjTgm0

  3. We get frequent visits to our Edge of Junglr Garden by various reptiles – mainky snakes, lizards etc. Currently we have observed Red Back Snakes of various sizes. The Maid wants to kill them but I believe they are hunting the frogs/toads we have in our back garden. Trouble is when we do see a snake we do not have time to run into the house to find our Snake ID Book to see if dangerous or not. Only worried if my kids are confronted by one. Otherwise live and let live. Like your site. Well Done. Tony R.

  4. Hi Vern,
    I like your site very interesting and well explained!
    Many Specimens that I had never seen before visiting your site.
    Continue to send us your videos who are very informative.
    Takes care of yourself and be careful…;-)

    Cheers

    Andy

  5. I just had a 3 meter Python in the Garden, i stay in the Coconut land on Koh Samui, i love snake, thanks for your site…..i can finally put names to some of the creatures i see.

  6. hi, thank you for the site living in phuket my thai wife,child and now i have been seeing what we now believe(thanks to your site) to be a golden tree snake in our yard . same behavior you describe very fast an ground then goes up a tree in our yard we have planted many papaya trees and he can hide in them easily.
    what are the chances oh a Malayan Pit Viper finding its way into our yard and hiding under dead papaya leaves? we live in a quieter part of phuket near many rubber plantations.
    we all have a live and let live attitude like many thais , just would like to keep the deadly snakes away if possible.

    cheers , tom and family

    1. Hi Tom,

      I think Malayan Pit Vipers can be found just about anywhere on ground. I’ve found them under leaves too. Recently there was one in my driveway in a subdivision – surrounded by a brick wall. How it got in – no idea. It’s always good to be cautious if you have kids around.

      Cheers!

  7. Hi,
    I live in Phuket and had my first snake encounter this morning. It was long and thin just over a metre and was gliding across my roof. It was a pale green colour with a nice pattern along the body and at the head. I took a photo and went for help but when I returned it had gone.
    Thanks for an extremely informative site.
    Regards,
    Mike

  8. Hi,

    Im currently on vacation in Thailand (right now in Hua Hin) and, although I have no knowledge about snakes, I have always been fascinated by them and, above all, by their beauty.

    One of the Thai guys who I have been do some horseriding tours here seems very concerned by my interest in snakes – the Thais seem fearful and very superstitious of this creature. Den informed me that if you kill a King Cobra, you better make sure that you kill his wife, too (or vice versa) as he/she will come after you. He honestly bleive this …. I didn’t even know that snakes lived in couples !

    Anyway, love your site and has certainly kindled my interest in snakes even more !

    Kind regards

    K

    1. Hi Kay, Thanks for your comment. Hua Hin has a lot of snakes – outside of Bangkok, this is where I get the most requests to identify snakes people see in Thailand.

      Ha! Thais have some great superstitious beliefs… the killing of the king and the husband or wife coming to get you is one of the best. Snakes don’t live in couples. No sense telling them otherwise though.

      Have a great vacation,

      Cheers,

      Vern

  9. Hi. Im curently on obsurvation in bandon hoapital in koh samui as a snake bot me….after 5 hours…still no symptoms…just the place where i got bitten on the anckel. Safly i didnt see what bit me, but it was on mainai beach on the north pf koh samui. 5 minutes before that we saw a green snakemclimb a palm tree on the beach and the. I got bitten by the snake i diidnt see 5 minutes later about 5 or 10 meters aeay on the grund.

    What do you thinkmit might be and how dangerus..doctors wouldt say and recomended 24hour hospital stay…

  10. I have all ready killed 3 cobra snakes in the last last 2 months here in the Phichit area, one of them was a baby so I know there will be about 30 or so more in the area. Dogs have found them each time.

  11. Hi.

    New to the site. Can you help with identifying a snake. It could be a tree snake but the colourings are not the same as the above picture.

    Hooped green and black body on top (maybe plain pale green underneath).

    It was quite small (maybe one foot long if stretched out), very thin (like a pencil in the middle and needle thin at the end). Wrapped itself around a table leg naturally.

    Any idea’s?

  12. I live in an estate in Phathum Thani – so a “townie” really. Came across a large, about four feet long, brown snake, curled up under some garden sacking on the patio. As I approached it ‘wriggled’ out and blew itself up to around twice the thickness! Then hid itself behind some loose brickwork. I got the gardener to remove it. He told me it was harmless, – a rat snake?

  13. Vern, I just found your site and appreciate the useful information very much. We are building a house with a decent sized garden and pond in the Pranburi / Sam Roi Yod area south of Hua Hin. Recently we came across in our car a dark gray or black snake crossing the country road from one pineapple field to another. Grassy area, lightly wooded, but nearby hills are heavily wooded. I caught just a quick glimpse of it and was worried I had run over it despite swerving to miss it. The snake looked to be about 2 meters long and perhaps 5-6 cm across at the midsection. I think I saw slightly lighter gray patterning on the back, but can’t be sure. When I stopped, turned around and returned to look for it it was not on the roadway. Either I missed it or it was a very tough snake.

    1. Hi David,

      If you ran it over – it will likely die. They can still sometimes move for a bit, but internal bleeding probably gets most of them after being run over by a vehicle. Sounds like a rat snake – you have Ptyas mucosa and Ptyas korros up there, both of which could possibly fit the description. For the most part, your king cobras are yellowish. Cheers!

  14. Great website, Thanks!
    I spotted a snake today, crossing the narrow road between a lumyai orchard and the Ping River, not too far from Lamphun…. The snake was maybe around a metre long, fairly stocky, and the colour was a deep coppery hue, appeared to be all over the snake
    I was out on the bike, so slowed for a look and kept going … I’ve run into all sorts of cobras, kraits and such out on my rides, plus I used to live in Australia ( say no more!) so, I’m used giving any snake a wide berth..
    Any ideas as to what it might have been? Cheers!

  15. Hi Vern. I saw a 200 mm by 8 mm black snack with yellow stripes over its head about 6 weeks ago about three quarters of an hour north of Pattaya and wonder about its identity.

    1. Hi Roger,

      I’d guess you saw a Golden Tree Snake. Did you see it during the day or night? In a tree? On the ground?

      Here’s a link to our common snakes page, and the golden tree snake (C. ornata) is shown with some photos. Chrysopelea ornata >

      Is that it?

      Cheers, Vern

      1. It was during the day and I would say that you are right, a golden tree snake, and being so young didn’t look quite the same, the pattern not so developed. Can I say the pattern was more like a zebra than a leopard.

        1. Oops. You said 200mm. Not 2,000 like I was thinking.

          It could have been that snake. It couldn’t have been a king cobra, there’s no way they’re hatching up there, they haven’t even mated yet. Are you sure the bands were over the head? I wonder if it could have been a banded krait? I don’t think the bands ever go over the head though. Tough call.

  16. Just met a guy who was bit on Pattaya Beach at night walking on the side walk next to the beach, Beach Road. There are many rats on the beach, so the snakes are probably in the palm tress. He didnt see the snake. It was a poisonous bite and his leg has blown up 3 times since antivenom at the hospital. What snake might it have been.

  17. I saw a 1.5 metre black snake. It seemed to have slightly paler rings towards the tail. Very fast mover. Also “ran” away from me faster than I did to it. Leapt 2 metres into space departing the back veranda. Typical venomous snake with smallish head compared to the main body. Tapered to a long thin tail.
    If I was in Australia, I would have called it dugite shaped and sized but blacker in colour.
    I am mildly worried because it seems to have moved in to my back garden.
    Many frogs, insects and geckoes in tall grass I am raising for my ducks.
    It seemed far different to rat snakes. Any ideas?

    1. If the head was not huge – like a king cobra head, then there is a better probability it was a rat snake. There are a few of them, but I think you probably saw the Keeled Rat Snake. Ptyas carinata, they are pretty common and get big. Sounds like what you described.

  18. Hi there

    Just come across your website as I am from New Zealand where we have no snakes whatsoever. We are traveling to Thailand (first time in my life) for 8 x nights and I am absolutely terrified of coming up against snakes. Can I hire a snake bodyguard while I am in Thailand ? Please can I call you or something to discuss basic precautions for staying here?

    1. Hi Daniel, It’s very hard to even FIND a snake. You have very little to worry about. If someone stays in Thailand for an entire YEAR, even if they do the typical tourist things – like kayaking in the mangroves, or hiking on trails, I’ll bet that most people would not even SEE a snake during that year. They are not that common. Relax!

  19. my dogs just had some fun with this snake in the garden. Couldn’t really match it to anything in your website. Can you advise?

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