Othriophis taeniurus ridleyi (Ridley’s Racer)
Length: up to 2.5 meters. I have found a couple of dozen of these snakes over the years. The biggest one was just about 2.25 meters long.
Range: Chumpon, Thailand, south to the border of Thailand-Malaysia
Habitat: Usually caves, though at times found outside caves. Recently I found several of them in a bungalow at a nature resort and an empty wooden cabin on a rubber plantation. Then someone wrote me to ID one that was climbing around the limestone cliffs in Krabi.
I’ve seen them cross a country road in the middle of a hot and sunny day. I’ve found them in ditches in the daylight hours as well.
These are stunning snakes with a simple pattern, but beautiful to look at!
Active Time? The snake is mainly nocturnal. They are active during the day after heavy rainfall, or inside caves for the most part, but I have seen them active during daylight hours as well.
Food: Bats, birds, and maybe even rats if they happened to be on the ground. They are known to be able to hang from a cave wall and catch bats as they fly by – out of the air!
Defensive Behavior: These Thailand snakes are calm and move slowly unless provoked substantially.
Venom Toxicity: None. Member of rat snake group – so their saliva probably contains venom, but they have no venom-injecting fangs in the front or rear. They have rows of teeth in the upper jaw, but they are very small – less than 1/4th inch long.
Offspring: Nothing known – still updating this article. I have never had a chance to see juveniles in the wild or captivity. Probably the same pattern as adults.
Notes: These are often found in Thailand caves, they are excellent wall climbers. A Buddhist monk walked me through some pitch-black caves at a temple with a cave in Southern Thailand and showed me this amazingly colored Ridley’s Racer pictured above. This non-venomous snake, part of the rat snake family was calm and let me take video with the camera just 12 inches from her head. Ridley racer snakes hang on cave walls and snatch flying bats out of the air.
Classification: T. ridleyi
Species: taeniurus ridleyi
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