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Common Thailand Snakes 2

[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

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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. Hi Vern,

    As I was driving back down the mountain towards Phang Nga from Khao Sok national park (about 10 mins from the park entrance, so still very much high in the jungle), I saw what I thought was a large broken tree branch on the opposite side of the road. One end of it was raised diagonally, about 2-3 ft off the ground, and was probably between 2.5 – 3m in length, around the width of a male forearm I guess.

    As I approached, I realised it was a snake, and it quickly turned to make its way back into the undergrowth. It moved quickly, lowering its head slightly, but still keeping it off the ground, with quite a pronounced ‘S’ movement. It was reddish brown in colour, with what could have been a slight diamond pattern on its back. It looked like the diamond pattern was made by an outline of the diamond shape, but wasn’t filled in with any major differences in colour, if that makes sense.

    As I was driving, this all happened fairly quickly, so was unable to get a shot of it. Any ideas what snake that could have been?



    1. Hi Paul,

      At that length, there aren’t too many snakes that fit the description. King cobra, Burmese Python, Reticulated python, and one of the rat snakes. You said it moved fast – which pythons don’t really do, at any size. “Fast” can be subjective, so maybe you considered it fast and it was a python. Pythons have a pattern while rat snakes and king cobras don’t – with exception of some simple light colored bands (or light and dark for P. mucosa). I think probably not a rat snake.

      The way you describe it moving – with head raised as if moved forward… pythons don’t tend to do. King cobras and rat snakes do.

      Impossible to say which one it was!

      Cheers man

      1. Thanks for the quick reply! You’re right, when I say ‘fast’ it wasn’t rapid, but yep, quicker than pythons tend to move at, from what I’ve seen. It was quite elegant in the way it moved off, rather than jittery. I’ve only ever come face to face with a king cobra once in the wild, in Kathu on Phuket, and that was a much lighter grey colour. Do kings in the south come in darker brown / reddish colours too?

        1. Sure! King cobras can be darker brown, yes. Yellowish. Black. Dark olive green. I haven’t seen any resembling reddish.

  2. Hi Vern.
    We saw a yellow whip snake in Chiang mai province today, very long and thin. I didn’t think whip snakes were yellow. I guess I’m wrong. Peter and Val.

    1. Hi there,

      Yes, yellow, grey, green, and light brown, and some very whitish.


  3. Thanks Vern, very nice snake, not at all aggressive and very gracious. And I’d like to say, congratulations for your website, I’ve referred to it 2 or 3 times before in the last few years. You seem like a pretty smart guy, a Nirut farang perhaps! Pete and Val.

  4. Hi,

    I check your site regularly to try and identify snakes. I see quite a few in my garden, most of them kukris I think.

    I have some video of them eating frogs on my porch.

    My wife saw this one close to our daughter and killed it. More than likely not a dangerous one, but if u could identify it, I could try and teach her not to be so quick to break another broom over a snake.


    1. It’s a keelback in the Xenochrophis genus. Harmless for people and pets (cats/dogs).

  5. bright green and black stripes, small, foot long?

    1. Golden Tree Snake, Paradise Tree Snake, Green Keelback, Green Rat Snake (Ptyas nigromarginata). Those are all I can think of at the moment.

  6. Hi this morning I found a small snake , if u could kindly help me identify please , Also how do I add the pic ?

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