Golden Tree Snake

These Golden Tree Snake are also known as Flying Snakes or Gliding Snakes. They glide very well, perhaps the best of any snake in the world, and even better than some squirrels and lizards.

Golden Tree Snakes are lime green (งูเขียว) and black checkered type patterned snake. They are tree dwellers but can climb anything, even walls. They appear to have a favorite food – the Tokay Geckos that reach sizes of 12+ inches long in adulthood. They are frequently seen eating Tokays.

Thailand Snakes – Venomous and Non-Venomous snake information!

Chrysopelea ornata (Golden Tree Snake)

Thai language: Ngoo kee-ow ly dok mak

Appearance: Chrysopelea ornata in Thailand is lime or pale green with some black and green crosshatches. This snake’s head is rather flat with a thin neck and atypical blunt nose, large eyes which sometimes are red depending on the angle. Generally seen as a green snake (งูเขียว) while moving.

The head is adorned with bands, dots in a row, and wavy lines of yellow on a black background.

The underbelly (ventral) surface is light green or yellow without pattern.

Similar Looking Snakes: The king cobra as a juvenile can look very much like C. ornata.

Golden Tree Snake - Chrysopelea ornata ornatissima - Southern Thailand
Golden Tree Snake – Venomous – Little Danger to Humans

Length: Up to 140 cm (almost 5 feet). They only get about as thick as 2-3 fingers held together.

Range: All over Thailand and many countries in Southeast Asia.

Habitat: Golden Tree Snakes can be found just about anywhere – in an apartment in Bangkok, or climbing bushes at 500 meters vertical elevation. Typically I see them at sea-level crossing the roads, or laying flat out along the stem of a low-lying palm tree branch.

They can climb up trees with smooth bark, concrete walls, and even the corners of walls in your home.

Notes: If you’re trying to catch one of these snakes it can be very difficult. They are excellent escape artists and once they get into a clump of bushes or up a tree – forget it. Go look for something else, you won’t catch it. They can disappear in trees so fast it’s hard to believe. Occasionally, you can find these in caves – they eat bats too.

I usually see them perched in a palm tree on the bough. I also often see them crossing the road very quickly. They move so fast that they sometimes appear to hover there and not move very much. If there is any grip to the road surface, they can go very quickly.

Active Time? Diurnal – daytime.

Food: Small geckos, lizards, large Tokay geckos, rodents, bird eggs, insects, another snake occasionally, and bats. Golden Tree Snakes kill by squeezing the neck of their prey, crushing it and stopping breathing.

Natural Enemies: Mongoose, rat snakes, cat snakes, monitor lizards will eat these snakes when they can catch them. When they are small, birds eat them.

Defensive Behavior: Golden Tree Snakes (flying snakes) bite quickly when played with. As adults, they may not lose that temperament. As babies – I have one now for some photos and video, most of them lose it quickly – and are OK with being held. They are very fast snakes when escaping.

Venom Toxicity: Rear fanged mildly venomous snake – but the venom is not known to be dangerous to humans. Just the same, don’t let it bite down on you more than a second or two before you remove it.

There have been no confirmed cases of medically significant envenomation with Golden Tree Snakes.

Offspring: Little is known about the breeding habits of these snakes because it is difficult to get them to mate while captive. Being oviparous it lays 6-12 eggs in May-June and they hatch in June. Baby snakes are 11-15cm long (4-6″)

Golden Tree Snake Identification Photo

In Thailand the golden tree snakes typically have this coloration and pattern.
In Thailand the golden tree snakes typically have this coloration and pattern.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Chrysopelea
Species: C. ornata
Binomial name: Chrysopelea ornata

Discovered, classified by Shaw, 1802

Video: My Baby Golden Tree Snake in Thailand:

#งูเขียว #greensnake

Thailand Snakes – Venomous and Non-Venomous snake information!

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  1. I am looking for information on a mixed breed …cobra and green snake ..does it exist. If it does, is there a picture or information.

    thank You

  2. Hi Vern,

    I have currently four of these residing in my bathroom and like you wrote catching them is near to impossible. Any advice on what to do next? All Thais in my surroundings simply suggest killing them but that’s not exactly something I would like to do.
    Please your two cents.

    Thanks in advance.
    Ward, Chanthaburi

    1. Can you open a window and let them out? Otherwise, you could make a little catcher out of pvc pipe (small diameter) and put a rope through it, loop out one end, and then the other end has both free ends. Use it to catch the snake in it, and then move it outside. They are not venomous at all, though they will try to bite and are very fast. A wound is like a pin prick. (tatoo?).

      1. Hi Vern, thnx for your reply,
        Letting them out through a window is not an option since they can go in and out of the bathroom many ways, as a fact they live in my house from before I moved in about a year ago now. They live in the walls and the thatched ceiling and we never actually saw them until now. We recently cut some branches off a tree next to the house and we guess that now during the hot season it’s getting to hot for them in the roof so they’re coming down to hide from the heat in my bathroom during the day.

        Problem has halved in the meantime btw, I was out of the house for a few days and the neighbour killed two already on the gf’s request…
        Will try to use your trap before I’ve got to leave the house again…

        Thnx for the advice,
        Keep up the great site,
        grtz, wrd, chanthaburi

  3. I taught English in a high school in Satun and once or twice a year the girls began screening and the whole class ran out into the halls. The cause was always a baby Golden Tree Snake which I realize now was a teacher prank allowing them to stretch their legs and make loud noise. My students came from families that lived on rubber plantations and they were well acquainted with snakes.


    1. Interesting. I’ve not heard of any English teachers in Satun. That is a real Thai town! How’d you like it there? Why is your name Moke? In Hawaii a Moke was a big badass guy, probably well over 250 lbs. Like a killer. lol. Your email address is from Canada… hmm. They have mokes in Canada? lol…

      1. Vern, my cat is named Moke. She lives in Satun. Her mom Gat is a master of the wilds. I spent many days on my Honda Wave looking for snakes, dead or alive. Satun is so green and nice. I never got hot there like I did in Ratchiburi. I saw that baby cobra YouTube. That was new for me. As for English teachers in Satun, there are probably ten in total.

        Moke’s Sidecick

  4. I think that a golden tree snake was in my bathroom today chasing after a huge tokay. I startled them both and now the snake is possibly hiding in between the the ceiling of the bathroom and the second floor. I am pretty freaked out and don’t know how to get rid of the snake. I also have a dog who weighs 20 kg. what is the danger to him if he is bitten by the snake? I estimate the snake to be quite long and likely over four feet in length. Any advice? Any other snakes that chase large adult tokays? Please advise.

    1. Yeah, Golden Tree Snakes LOVE those big Tokay geckos. So do some Cat Snakes. There is a green cat snake that loves them too. Neither is going to be able to harm your dog. Cheers!

  5. Vern. Thanks for this website. Proved very useful Friday night when I stepped onto my Bangkok balcony barefoot in the dark and one sunk his teeth into my ankle. I managed to take a picture, post it on Facebook and almost immediately one of my friends posted your link, which greatly reassured me.

    Keep up the good work.
    (p.s. I work for a wildlife conservation organization and this is the thanks I get for trying to save them huh!?)

    1. ha! Usually they would just flee, must have felt like there was nowhere to go but through you! Yep, that is the thanks we get… I was nearly munched on by a Malayan pit viper on the trail yesterday but he gave me a break. I stepped within 2 inches of him – right in front of his face. Lucky us! Cheers man…

  6. I have seen a green snake with light brown bands or hexes in my garden mostly in bushes and trees. About 1 m in length quite thin. Looked at the picture of golden tree snake but this one is definitely green / brown. Also lost the download for the book but can’t download it again.

    1. By ‘hexes’ – you mean X’s? Have you looked at the Brown-spotted Pit Viper? Could maybe be that one? Here’s the link: C. venustus.

  7. Are you sure it’s not potentially dangerous? Because i have the exact snake in our balcony. Im so scard! It trespassed our property

    1. I am as sure as I can get. Sounds like you’re not sure! If it’s that snake, yeah, harmless for people. Assuming you’re not allergic to the venom.

  8. Hi Mr Vern,

    I found an injured gravid female and it laid 4 good eggs and 2 bad eggs on 25th March, and the female died a week after laying the eggs, how long does it takes for them to hatch? Should I cut the eggs lies on some videos on YouTube or let them hatch themselves ?


    1. like on some YouTube videos*

    2. Hi Samuel, I read your other comment already – it was C. paradisi! Nice snake. Don’t ever cut the eggs. Cheers!

  9. I have what I believe to be one of these that likes to hang around outside my house. I know the venom is not proven to be dangerous for humans, but what about babies/toddlers? Thanks for your help and the fantastic site!

    1. I want to say “no effect” – but I have no idea. Probably no effects.

  10. It HATCHED!!! N I just realized it’s a paradise tree snake

  11. Just wondering if the book has all snakes listed. You have 75ish listed here. I have been up all night and counted 3 times and got 3 different numbers. I broke them down into different categories. Anyway. I am doing this for a volunteer teaching project I am working on. I teach 2nd and 3rd graders about foreign countries. I have only done African & South American countries and Mexico but now I am working on Asian countries. I have collected 1000’s of pictures from National Geographic going back 40 or more years I bought 2 copies of each magazine and laminated them so I could put them up so the kids could see the people in their homes, see the animals, see the countryside see everything that National Geographic photographed (within reason of course). We also try some of the food. I learn some of the crafts. I am now finding music and fairy tales online. I will be contacting embassy’s to see if they will look over the list of foods and animals that I have for their countries to see if they are correct and complete and to see if they will send me a good map of the country. and maybe a small desk flag. If I have not found a craft from that country that the kids can do yet then I will also ask them for a suggestion. Thanks for your website

    1. I’m not aware of any book that has all the snakes of Thailand listed. Sounds like a massive project you’re on there! Best of luck man…

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