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Common Thailand Snakes

[Last Updated: 19 July 2023]

Snakes in Thailand You May See

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.

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Non-Venomous and Mildly Venomous and Harmless Snakes found in Thailand

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. ©Vern Lovic

Green Cat Snake (Boiga cyanea)

This green snake is almost 2 meters long when fully grown, and resembles 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. ©Vern Lovic

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros)

One rat snake, the Indo-Chinese Rat Snake, 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 patterns. 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.
A black mamba bite. Monocled and King cobra bites/deaths. Viper bites, coral bites, many VERY close calls. Should be in every herper’s bag.

Venomous Snakebites and Near Misses

More than 34 stories of venomous snakebites 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 of interesting reading.

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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. ©Vern Lovic

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 to humans. It does bite, of course, so stay out of reach. This is an incredibly beautiful snake with green hues, blue-green eyes, and a black and blue tongue. Stunning!

If you haven’t yet read this book about Dr. Joe Slowinski – a 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. ©Vern Lovic

Radiated Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiata)

Also called the Copper-headed Racer  – 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 in Thailand 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. Reader sent, used with permission.

Keelback Snakes (Oligodon / Rhabdophis / Xenochrophis genera)

Keelbacks 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. ©Vern Lovic

Golden Tree Snake (Chrysopelea ornata)

A very common green 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. ©Vern Lovic

Bronzeback Snakes (Dendrelaphis genus)

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. ©Vern Lovic

Oriental Whip Snakes (Ahaetulla prasina and Ahaetulla mycterizans)

Very common snakes, and usually found in trees during the 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 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.

Common Venomous and Deadly Snakes in Thailand

Malayan Pit Viper - one of the most dangerous venomous and deadly snakes in Thailand.
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. ©Vern Lovic

Malayan Pit Viper (Calloselasma rhodostoma)

A very dangerous pit viper with strong cytotoxic 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 Cobras (Naja kaouthia)

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 that 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.

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 then visit the hospital to ensure they are properly cleaned. Photo above (click to enlarge) is of the Monocled Cobra (Naja kaouthia)

Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus)

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 (now R. siamensis). ©Vern Lovic
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. ©Vern Lovic

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 the 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)

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. ©Vern Lovic

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 (Calliophis maculiceps)

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). ©Vern Lovic

Small-spotted Coral. There is one frequently seen coral snake in Thailand 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 35 cm 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 is a book of stories about snakes in Thailand.
Stories of close calls…

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 at Amazon HERE

Common Snakes in Thailand 1 >

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  1. Do snakes have a home territory?

    About a month back there was a large snake on the spare land next to our building in Phuket.
    It was around for 3 days in the same place at the same times, afternoons.
    It wasn’t scared of people, didn’t move away. The Thai workers at the building all went to see the snake and take photos on their phones, they called it a cobra.
    It hasn’t been seen since, will it have moved away or is this its home area and its still here?

    1. Hi there,

      Yes, a lot of snakes have a home territory – possibly all. They find a place they are comfortable and stay there as long as it’s safe, comfortable as far as temperature and humidity, and provides food. Cobras are known to stay around one spot – yes.

  2. Saw some beautiful snakes over my years in Thailand, including a Banded Krait in Lopburi, 20 minutes after my girlfriend telling me there were no snakes near the family home! Gotta love the Thais and their white lies. I felt privileged to see one though, didn’t even know what it was until I got home and googled it. Unmistakably a Krait.

    1. Wish it was me! I’ve seen a big one DOR, but not alive yet.

  3. I would prefer “kill them all” :D I saw one green snake (80cm long) climbing on 7th floor if condominium in Bangkok. I had to help it fly dosn :D Unfortunately snake landed without harting itself and ran away (BTW I gave it over 10 minutes to run away but I cannot risk Nd wait more). Now I am thinking what should I do to avoid unexpecte guest on my balcony.

  4. Hi Vern,
    Could you kindly help me to identify a snake my wife saw today?
    We live in Chiang Mai. Not outside of the city (near to Promenade Mall)
    Today, approx. 10:00 am , my wife (also American~she has very little knowledge about the snakes here, but learning~) saw a snake in our yard, she ran into the house and called me.
    It went under a bush. I never did get to see it as I think it went thru to neighbor’s yard and away.
    I tool a rake, and also a water hose to see if it was still in the bushes so that I could glimpse it.

    She described it to me and we looked thru some pictures but are still not for certain.

    Her description:
    Yellow underbelly, she was absolutely certain of this
    Back was green she said, but not a bright green, then she described a more brownish green, , almost like olive green.


    1. King cobra? Oriental whip snake? What was the thickness? the length?

  5. Hello Vern

    Posted here before about 4 years ago about a dead banded krait on the road outside my place near Chiang Rai. Since then have seen 2 more on my nocturnal rides on the bike out in the country.

    Today out in the back yard by the pond the wife is yelling snake snake! The son comes and gets me and out I go and find a live banded krait, again about 1.5M long, along with 2 other dead snakes caught in the fish netting the neighbour strung up over the barbed wire to keep our ducks out of his rice field. About 2 weeks ago the wife called me out back and there was a dead rotten snake in the same netting which I removed.

    So after getting a knife I cut and cut to get it free and then it still had a chunk around its neck I had to get off. A beautiful snake with its alternate bands of black and yellow. Once totally free it kept hiding its head under its belly while extending its tail out and twitching it at us. Had a bad abrasion on its belly but I think and hope it will survive. with us there it would not leave. We walked away and after about 10 minutes it slithered away. GOOD!

    For sure I got a chore tomorrow removing all that netting so it does not kill more snakes.


    1. Hi James,

      Yeah, that fish netting can trap all sorts of things. Snakes get caught in it easily. Lucky you to see a live 1.5m banded krait. Amazing snakes, yes. I wonder if it was lured in by the dead snakes. They’re snake eaters, though they also eat rodents.

      Send a pic next time, if possible.



  6. Hi Vern,

    Few year ago I was playing golf in Hua hin / Majestic course (pretty much in a jungle at the time). We were the first group and I was walking ahead of others. When I walked under a palm tree a black snake, about meter long and thick as normal male arm from wrist high dropped from the tree just next to me.
    It went away in a second so I couldn’t spot any details. I am pretty sure there wasn’t any particular patterns or other colour in it.

    Great if you can give any answers what could it been. Sorry for the lack of info. Cheers, Mikko

    1. OK, here are some possibilities:

      King Cobra (O. hannah)
      Indo-Chinese Rat Snake (P. korros)
      Banded Rat Snake (P. mucosus)
      Keeled Rat Snake (P. carinatus)
      Monocled Cobra (N. kaouthia)

      It could have been a very melanistic (dark) snake of another species.


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