Red Tailed Racer – Non-Venomous – Not Dangerous

[Last Updated: 6 June 2022]

These Red Tailed Racers are beautiful green snakes (งูเขียว) with a grey or reddish tail. They are non-venomous but big enough to give you a strong bite. These snakes live for about 15 years on average – if they don’t encounter a predator like the King of Snakes.

Gonyosoma oxycephalum (Red Tailed Racer)

Thai: (ngoo kee-ow kub maak)

Length: Max length about 2.5m (7.5+ feet) They are thick like your wrist and very strong, muscled snakes.

Red Tailed Racer Snake, Thailand
Red Tailed Racer – Non-Venomous – Not Dangerous

Range: All over Thailand.

Habitat: Red-Tailed Racers prefer lowland and up to about 750m above sea level in jungle, agricultural (farmed) land, mangrove forests. They spend most of their time in trees and bushes.

I have found these climbing wooden steps on a nature trail in dense Thailand rainforest and on the edge of residential developments. I’ve removed them from homes, porches, and garages. They don’t seem to mind being in open places where hawks or eagles might prey on them. I think they’re perfect green color on the dorsal (top) protects them from most predators.

Notes: These are common tree snakes that are also found in caves. They have beautiful greens, with white and black mixed into their main body color. Their belly scales are rough and ideal for climbing trees.

Their top scales are smooth. Identified easily by the dark streak across the eyes, and, if you’re close enough – the blue tongue that flickers in and out when aggravated. The tail is not always or even usually red… the ones I’ve seen are grey. They don’t always do well in captivity and can strike at any time, though usually much more when aggravated first.

Active Time? Daytime.

Food: Rats, mice, birds, bats and lizards.

Natural Enemies: King cobras love to eat Red-tailed Racer snakes!

Defensive Behavior: They flare up their bodies vertically – not horizontally like the cobras. They puff themselves up vertically and turn this part sideways to you so they can strike fear into you. They do bite when pestered. They can strike from nearly any position, head facing away from you too. Be careful they have strong jaws.

Venom Toxicity: No venom dangerous to humans.

Offspring: Red-tailed racers reach sexual maturity at 4 years. Between September and January this snake deposits small clutches of 3-8 eggs that hatch 45cm long baby red-tailed racer snakes in 91 to 112 days.

Red Tailed Racer Snake, Non-Venomous, Thailand
We put this snake on the ground to get a full-body shot, usually, it would not be on the ground – they much prefer the trees and bushes.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Gonyosoma
Species: G. oxycephalum

Binomial name: Gonyosoma oxycephalum

Classified by Boie in 1827.

Video: Big Red-Tailed Racer Found on Hiking Trail – Southern Thailand

#GreenSnake #งูเขียว

12 thoughts on “Red Tailed Racer – Non-Venomous – Not Dangerous”

    • Good question. I’ve not seen that and not heard of it, however, kraits eat other snakes as you probably know so I wouldn’t put them in the same cage together. Cheers, Vern

  1. 2 weeks ago I found a killed King Cobra, few days ago in the same place a Red Tailed Racer also killed by some people.
    My place is Cagayan de Oro city in Northern Mindanao Philippines.
    My first time to see a King in my area beside the Samar Cobra

    • Kind of sad yeah? I mean, if they killed it to eat it, that’s one thing. If they kill it and just let it lay in the dirt – what’s the point?

  2. I saw one of these snakes today whilst walking my dogs at a reservoir in Phuket. It was crossing the road heading into the jungle and was at least 1.5metres long! I was scared for my inquisitive dogs but glad the snake went on to roam.

    • They are sometimes found on the ground – and often in the trees. Lovely snakes, right?!

  3. i saw this kind of snake on a tree branch along my way home…it scared me lot…that’s why i work on my research about this specie… thanks for this helps me a lot..

  4. I killed red tail snake, in a few hours, and I research, is kind of one Non venomous , its color Blackgreen on the back & white color round on the body , alas if i know possible to be pet .

  5. Hi Vern, we had a big one just at house. Will they come into the house and anything that can be done to keep them away?

    • You know, I’ve not heard of one of those in a house. They love trees and birds primarily. If you keep birds in the house – yes. If not, probably not. They are sometimes on the ground, and will eat other animals, but they seem to really love the trees and bushes.

  6. How long from birth before they reach their full Color and size?

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