Really? Snakes in Bangkok?

King cobra on the ground. These snakes can often be found in and near Bangkok due to the proliferation of their favorite food - rat snakes.
King cobras can be found in and near Bangkok because there is an abundance of rat snakes, a favorite prey.

(Last updated: 26 July 2016)

Visitors and those who intend to stay in Bangkok as expats, invariably come up with a question if they are truly concerned about the matter…

Are Dangerous Snakes in Bangkok, Thailand?

The answer is yes, of course. There are venomous snakes all over Thailand from the southernmost to the northernmost parts of the country.

Though Bangkok is a big city, there are still places for snakes to make a home. Waterways, drainage ditches and pipes, and trees and bushes are the primary places snakes can be found in this capital city of Thailand.

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Which Dangerous Snakes are Found in Bangkok?

Being a big city, surrounded by waterways (canals, klongs) frogs, rats and other rodents, birds, fish, and lizards are common. These are primary sources of food for snakes – even pythons will eat frogs that are hardly a meal for them.

PYTHONS – usually Reticulated pythonsPython reticulatus, are found fairly often in the city of Bangkok. They tend to sleep in the trees or bushes and hunt prey at night. Pythons don’t typically target humans, but they can give a wicked bite – having over 70 very strong, VERY sharp teeth to inflict damage with. The Burmese pythonPython molurus, is also found in Bangkok, but in smaller numbers.

COBRAS – there are 3 species (at least) of cobra you may find in Bangkok: Monocled cobraNaja kaouthia, King cobra – Ophiophagus hannah, Indo-Chinese spitting cobraNaja siamensis. All of these snakes are deadly and should be avoided. These snakes will not chase you, so if you gradually move away, you will likely be fine. Some snakes strike when they sense you moving away fast, so move very slowly.

KRAITS – though a couple of kraits (Banded kraitBungarus fasciatus, and the Malayan KraitBungarus candidus) might be found in Bangkok, you will likely never see one unless you visit the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute (Bangkok Snake Farm). They come out at night and avoid people for the most part. Kraits have the unnerving habit of crawling into homes with their doors to the outside open. So, keep your doors shut, and don’t fall asleep on the ground. I saw a video on Youtube that showed a krait climbing into a tent – so, be careful anytime you’re sleeping outdoors.

VIPERS – the snake responsible for the most deaths across the world is probably the Russel’s Viper (Daboia russelii), (Chain Viper). These are found in central Thailand. These snakes have a strong venom, so envenomation must be treated quickly. They prefer the rainforest and lay in wait for prey – so if you’re walking around in wooded areas, or areas where you cannot see your feet due to underbrush – you are at some risk.

The snake responsible for more bites and many deaths (under 10 per year reported) in Thailand each year is the Malayan Pit Viper (Calloselasma rhodostoma). This is another snake that stays still and waits for rodents to run by. The venom is very strong and destroys all living tissue, including bone. Again, don’t walk in areas with underbrush where you cannot see where you’re stepping, or what you are stepping beside. These snakes are primarily active at night, but also will become active during cloudy and rainy days.

Which Non-Venomous Snakes Can Be Found in Bangkok?

Many! There are around 200 species of snakes in Thailand and many of them can be found in and around Bangok (central Thailand). The most common snake you might find is the Golden tree snake – Chrysopelea ornata.

Are You Likely to Find a Snake in Bangkok?

That depends on you. If you’re looking for them, you may find some. I have a friend in Bangkok that walks around at night with a bright flashlight and camera so he can take photos and video of the snakes he finds – usually in areas with trees.

If you’re walking around concrete streets and sidewalks during the day, or night, you’ll probably not come across a dangerous snake in Bangkok. Most of the snake sightings I am asked to identify involve tree snakes (not dangerous) on balconies or even coming in through an open window. These snakes can climb walls – they are excellent climbers. Of course it throws people into a panic.

Get the free ebook – and take a quick look through the photos and the information. It will help you feel better about snakes because you’ll see that very few are dangerous to you. Snakes never chase you or hunt you. They are acting entirely defensively when they strike. It is because they fear you.

Best of luck to you, enjoy Thailand’s amazing diversity!