One of the biggest problems (and dangers) of herping in Thailand is not knowing which snake you’re looking at. There are many snakes which look close enough to each other and can be misidentified. The black and white snakes are probably the most difficult to distinguish because when juvenile, they can look quite similar in appearance. White snakes are near impossible to identify!
I myself have had a horrible experience where I misidentified a black and white sub-adult blue krait as a juvenile Laotian wolf snake. When I turned around, a friend had it in his hand. Talk about a nightmare! I had seen dozens and dozens of kraits before that, and still, because of where this black/white snake was found I figured it was a harmless wolf snake. I had never found a blue krait in this spot before, only wolf snakes. It was a real eye-opening experience!
Black and White Snakes (as adults or juveniles)
- Butler’s Wolf Snake – Lycodon butleri
- Dark (Dusky) Wolf Snake – Lepturophis albofuscus
- Laotian Wolf Snake – Lycodon laoensis
- Malayan Bridle Snake – Dryocalamus subannulatus (usually brown and white or brown
- Malayan Krait (Blue Krait) – Bungarus candidus*
- Malayan (White) Banded Wolf Snake – Lycodon subcinctus
- Many-banded Krait – Bungarus multicinctus*
Deadly snakes in the list above are marked with an asterisk (*).
Black and white snakes are rather easy to notice especially when they are moving because if moving slowly, their body pattern is like a waving checkered flag at the F-1 races. Isn’t it?
VERY difficult to identify are completely WHITE SNAKES >
3 thoughts on “Thailand’s Black and White Snakes”
What kind of snake about 5 ft. Long. With black and yellow stripes running up body
If you mean stripes, a radiated rat snake has black stripes running up the upper half of its body. If you mean bands, a banded krait has bands going around the entire body from neck to tail.
I was outside preparing a load for washing. My washing machine has legs on it so it sits raised above the ground by about 10cm. I turn to my left to grab some detergent. After pouring the detergent, I grabbed for a bottle of bleach. It was at this moment, that the snake mentioned above slithered past me from behind. There wasn’t anything other than my washing machine to hide behind (I had just moved in 3 weeks prior). I figured if it didn’t feel the need to bite me, I wasn’t going to see fit to harm it.