Siam-Info - Thailand Information
facebook deutsch

Common snakes

Common snakes which can often be found in Thailand. This list should make the layman’s search for these snakes easier and presents a specific summary of the parts of a snake.


Map_Thailand_61Picture: J. Bulian

Python reticulatus (Broghammerus reticulatus*2)

Thai: ngu lam (ngu leuam)

One of the largest specimens ever was pictured in the January edition of the magazine €Das Tier€ (The Animal). The snake was captured in  Thailand and, according to the magazine, has a body length of 12, 2  meters and a body weight of 220 kg. This snake has been sold to a snake  reserve in Japan. The statement about the length and weight is sure to  be inaccurate and probably heavily exaggerated. However it is proved  that this snake can grow very long with this  illustration of a Python on Siam-Info. The animal is now 7 years old  (October 2007) and has already reached a length of 6,5 meters.

The ReticulatedPython is to be found throughout Thailand. The animals can  even be regularly found in the inner city areas of Bangkok.

The ReticulatedPython was originally an inhabitant of the flat land  woods. It prefers to be near water and is active at twilight and a  night. The reticulated Python is a fantastic swimmer and is regular  swimming long distances in the sea. Thesespecies were the first reptiles to resettle in the area after the outbreak of the volcano Krakatau on  the islands of (Sumatra or) Java in 1888.

 These snakes are very aggressive and bite at the slightest disturbance. A snake from 4 meters long and upwards poses a danger to humans, not  because of its venomous, but because of its sheer size.

*2 RAWLINGS et al. transfered Python reticulatuns in the new genus  Broghammerus. If this change will be generally accepted remains to be  seen.

Snake_Python bivittatus

Map_Thailand_05Picture: J. Bulian

Python bivittatus (Burmese Python)

Thai: ngu larm (ngu larm)

Length: up to 7m
Most examples do remain smaller. The longest example was owned by the owner of a private zoo in Bangkok, Mr. Siah and reached a total length of 8,8 m.

Distribution: from North Thailand to the Isthmus of Kra

The dark Tiger Python is an inhabitant of the grassy countryside with trees and lightly wooded areas. They are often found at the edge of hills and mountains. Specimens have also been found in the inner city areas of Bangkok, although less often than the Python reticulatus. These snakes are active at night and at twilight. They eat warm-blooded mammals up to the size of a German shepherd. Just like all pythons, the Dark Tiger Python also lays eggs which it incubates. The temperature of 31 required for incubation is achieved by contracting the muscles. A total of up to 100 eggs can be laid. The largest amount of eggs ever laid was 107 eggs which were approx. 12X6 cm. The young snakes hatch out of their shells after around 58 days.

The Burmese Python is more of a peaceful snake and does not tend to bite. A potential danger is present due to its size.

Snake_Ahaetulla prasina

Map_Thailand_55Picture: J. Bulian

Ahaetulla prasina (Oriental Whip snakes)

Thai: ngu kieo hua ching chok pa (ngu kieo hua ching chok pa)

Length: Up to 190 cm

Distribution: This subspecies is found throughout Thailand.

By day these snakes inhabit the trees and shrubs of agricultural lands and forests. They lie in loose loops on the branches. By night, the snakes sleep in the same position in shrubs and trees, where they stay mostly on the outer branches. They feed on frogs, lizards, and birds. Rodents are generally not eaten by these snakes. In Thailand the ahaetulla prasina has 2 mating seasons per year. The main mating activities take place between the end of April and the beginning of July. However, mating can also take place between December and January.

Gestation lasts approximately 6 months. The females give birth to between 4 and 10 young animals, which are between 420 and 510 mm long at birth.

Although this is considered to be a rearfanged snake it is not dangerous to humans. The venomous must be massaged into the bite wound by a chewing motion in order to be effective. Even with small lizards it takes the  venomous some 15  minutes to have an effect. When excited the snakes expand their neck  area in order to appear larger. In this position it is possible then to  see the banded region of the intermediate skin. In addition, the snake  extends its tongue and holds it some seconds in this position. Besides  the completely green snakes, they also appear as yellow or brownish,  especially when juvenile.


Map_Thailand_67Picture: J. Bulian

Chrysopelea ornata ornatissima (Golden Tree Snake)

Thai: ngu kieo lai dok mak (ngu kieo lai dok mak)

Length: Up to 140 cm

Distribution: The Golden Tree Snake is to be found throughout Thailand.

Chrysopelea Ornata Ornattissima is a flexible snake. It can be found in forests, on plantations, in gardens and in houses. This snake is regularly found in the inner city areas of Bangkok and Pattaya. As they enjoy eating rodents, geckos and other lizards, they are often found on and in houses. These snakes are active during the day, can climb walls and are very fast.

If they feel threatened and cannot flee, they bite straight away. The  species  Chrysopelea belongs to the family of rearfanged snakes. However, the  venomous is so mild that it does not have much of an effect on humans.


Map_Thailand_61Picture: J. Bulian

Coelognatus radiatus (Copperheaded Racer)

Thai: ngu tang maprao lai keet (ngu tang maprao lai keet)

Length: Up to 230 cm
These snakes generally reach a length between 150 and 180 cm.

Distribution: The Copperhead Rat Snake is found throughout Thailand.

Coelognathus radiatus resides in all types of habitats up to a height of 1500 meters. You will find this snake in wooded areas, as well as cultivated land, villages and towns. These snakes live at ground level and are active mostly during the day and sometimes at twilight and at night. This fast snake flees if it sense danger. If they are cornered, they show typical defensive behaviour in that they shape their body into a double S and snap at their opponent. If they are not successful with this tactic, they play dead by lying on their back with their mouth open and let their tongue hand out. Their food is rodents, birds, lizards and frogs.

Danger: None. This snake is non venomous


Picture: J. Bulian

Map_Thailand_67Lycodon laoensis (Laotian Wolf Snake)

Thai: ngu plong chanuan lao, ngu kan plong
(ngu plong chanuan lao, ngu kan plong)

Size: to 50 cm, very thin

In completely Thailand, usually in the hill and mountain country, also in the proximity of settlements.

Evening and night-active animals, which mostly are at the soil. Not very aggressively. Bites nevertheless with annoyance.

Danger: Innocuous little aggressive snake.

Note: Danger of mistake with:

Snake_Ptyas korros

Map_Thailand_67Picture: J. Bulian

Ptyas korros (Indochinese Rat Snake)

Thai: ThaiSnakeName-Ptyas korros (ngu sing ban)

Length: A little over 100 cm

Distribution: Throughout Thailand, but predominantly in the lowland areas.

A snake which is active during the day, is very fast and which usually flees from humans before they get too close. If cornered, the snake bites very quickly and can even jump at their aggressor. This snakes helps keep rats and mice at bay.

Danger: None

Snake_Xenochrophis piscator

Map_Thailand_61Picture: Wolfgang Grossmann

Xenochrophis piscator (Checkered Keelback)

Thai: ThaiSnakeName-Xenochrophis piscator (ngu lai so yai, ngu daeng hae)

Length: Up to 120 cm

Throughout Thailand in heights up to 1600 meters; more commonly found in flat land up to a height of 300 meters.

Habitat and behaviour:
The fish snake can mainly be found near waters. The snake is usually active during the day and often covers large distances on the hunt for food. Many can be found on the streets after a heavy rainfall. If agitated the snakes flatten out their neck region and erect their upper bodies. Due to this defensive reaction they are often mistaken for a cobra. When fleeing the snake moves along smooth surfaces (e.g. streets) in sideways movements and jumps forwards.

The snake is not dangerous to humans. If they are threatened or even  simply  taken in the hand, they do bite very quickly. Whitaker & Captain  claimed that they swam in ponds inhabited by fish snakes and were never  bitten.

Snake_Naja kaouthia

Map_Thailand_65Picture: J. Bulian                                 

Naja kaouthia (Monocled Cobra)

Thai: ThaiSnakeName-Naja kaouthia (ngu hau mo, ngu hau hom)

Length: Up to 150 cm

The monocled cobra is found relatively frequently throughout Thailand. Naja kauthia , which is also found in India, Nepal, south China and Indochina.

Naja kaouthia is a ground dwelling snake in the flat country, which can  however climb and swim very well. The monocled cobra is equally at home  in a wide variety of places: forest and shrub areas, as well as  plantations, rice fields, pastures, villages  and cities. The monocled cobra is active at night and day, but more  often at night. These snakes eat rodents, frogs, toads, ducks and  chicks. When threatened they straighten up, spread the neck flat, and  hiss. If you react calmly, they usually take flight. The monocled cobra  mates in Thailand in the months of December and January. After about two months of mating, the females lay between 10 and 30 eggs. The eggs are  laid in moderately damp soil, under heaps of leaves or stones,  in the spaces of hollow trees, in rat holes, and in spaces under houses. Depending on the temperature, the eggs incubate from between 50 and 60  days. The young animals are long, between 25 and 30 centimetres, and  identical in colouring and appearance to the adults. From my own  observations in southern Thailand, I concluded that the females remained at least some days on the clutch of eggs and stayed in the proximity of the clutch of eggs later.

These snakes can vary in colour from light beige to dark brown and grey.

This snake has a very powerful life threatening venomous.
Strong venomous, deadly!

Snake_Calloselasma rhodostoma

Map_Thailand_67Picture: J. Bulian

Calloselasma rhodostoma (Malayan Pit Viper)

Thai: ThaiSnakeName-Calloselasma rhodostoma (ngu gap pha)

Length: Up to 100 cm

Resident in the whole of Thailand and is often found under dry leaves, stones or old wood.

Predominantly nocturnal especially when it is drizzling, but also active during the  day. It bites, is an aggressive snake and advances very quickly.

Danger: Strong venomous, deadly!

Snake_Cryptelytrops albolabris

Map_Thailand_65Picture: J. Bulian

[Trimeresurus] Cryptelytrops albolabris
(White-lipped Pit Viper)

Thai: ThaiSnakeName-Cryptelytrops albolabris (ngu khiau hang mei tong loeng)

Length: 75 cm - male, 104 cm - female

Distribution: Throughout Thailand

The White-lipped Pit Viper is a very adaptable snake which can be found in  wooden and bushy open areas up to 500 meters. It is often found near  human settlements. It prefers to stay near to the water. The snake is  nocturnal and in search for food (rodents, frogs, lizards, birds) they  also move on the ground at night. The Pit  Viper strikes quickly and accidents with humans happen frequently.  White-lipped Pit Vipers mate in Thailand in September and October. The  females give birth up to 16 offspring, which are born in a membrane  which the babies break open just after birth. The juveniles have the  same coloration as the adults

A normal person cannot tell the difference between the green Pit Vipers. The  following Pit Vipers, present in Thailand, have a green colour:

  • Cryptelytrops (Trimeresurus) albolabris (White-lipped Pit Viper)
  • Viridovipera (Trimeresurus) gumprechti (Gumprecht's Pit Viper)
  • Parias (Trimeresurus) hageni Hagen's Pit Viper
  • Cryptelytrops (Trimeresurus) macrops (Large-eyed Pit Viper)
  • Popeia (Trimeresurus) popeiorum popeiorum (Popes Pit Viper)
  • Popeia (Trimeresurus) fucatus *in the works from MALHOTRA & THORPE (2004) not yet entered
  • MALHOTRA & THORPE follows, entered here under the name Popeia
  • Parias (Trimeresurus) sumatranus (Sumatra Pit Viper)
  • Viridovipera (Trimeresurus) vogeli (Bird Pit Viper)
  • Cryptelytrops cardamomensis (Cardamom Mountains Green Pitviper)

There is a serum against all green Pit Vipers available in Thailand. Bites are very painful but do not usually end fatally. A bad bite can lead to necrosis.

Print page
Learn Thai mit ThaiTrainer111
More Info ThaiTrainer111

Learn Thai language

Learn the Thai numbers with ThaiNumbers
More Info ThaiNumbers

Learn Thai numbers