Snakes are the most feared animal in the city…but only a few can hurt humans, and even they prefer to avoid people. In fact, snakes are a beneficial part of Thailand’s ecosystem. Many of Bangkok’s snakes feed on the city’s mice and rats, helping to control those rodent populations and reducing crop loss and the spread of disease. Some of the smaller snakes eat insect larvae and help to control ant and termite populations in the city. Other snakes keep fish, frog, and lizard populations in balance or provide food for birds of prey, wading birds, and other animals.
However, every year a number of people in Bangkok are bitten by dangerously venomous snakes. For information on what to do if you are bit by a potentially dangerous snake, go to the snakebite page.
If you saw a snake but are not sure what kind it is, take a look at the following grouped categories to narrow down the possibilities. Click on the picture to see a larger version and click on the name to go to the species account.
Blind Snakes superficially appear similar to worms, though they can quickly be distinguished from worms by the fact that they don’t stretch and contract their bodies and have eyes, a tongue, and hard scales. Their small size makes them difficult to distinguish from each other, and so a scale count is often necessary to tell the different species apart.
White-headed Blind Snake – extremely slender, pale head
Brahminy Blind Snake – slender, relatively uniform coloration
Diard’s Blind Snake – robust for a blind snake, dark brown on top fades into paler underbelly
Slender Worm Snake – More slender and often longer than Brahminy Blind Snake, may need to do scale counts
Roxane’s Blind Snake – yellow on snout to chin and around anal, stout for blind snake with short tail
Flower’s Blind Snake – creamy yellow from snout to chin and around anal, no sharp tail spine
Long-nosed Whip Snake – extremely slender, long, pointed nose
Golden Tree Snake – black markings, long but not pointed head
White-lipped Tree Viper – broad triangular head, white or light green on lips, venomous and dangerous!
Large-eyed Tree Viper – stout triangular head, large eye, blue-green on lips, venomous and dangerous!
Common Wolf Snake – white collar, very indistinct light bands
Common Bridle Snake – slender, vertically compressed body with white bands that reticulate near tail
Banded Krait – triangular body, distinct dark and light bands of equal width, venomous and dangerous!
Jack’s Water Snake – thin light bands that fade in adulthood, broad head with dark “mask” on face
Red-tailed Pipe Snake – small dark head, reddish color under tail, narrow light bands that may be absent on upper body
Little File Snake – thick body with loose skin, rounded tail, in or near marine habitats
Banded Kukri Snake – widely spaced dark blotches with small crossbars in-between
Bocourt’s Water Snake – Thick body, primarily dark brown to black with narrow yellowish bands
Distinctly Blotched Snakes
Reticulated Python – Very large body with reticulated pattern of black, brown, and yellow
Burmese Python – Very large body, brown blotches, arrow-like mark on top of head
Russell’s Viper – average body, stout head, venomous and dangerous!
Many-spotted Cat Snake – slender body with brown blotches, average head, usually in trees
Distinctly Striped Snakes
Indo-Chinese Sand Snake – Alternating light and brown stripes
Copperhead Racer – Black line on front half of body and lines radiating from eye
Painted Bronzeback – slender, light line on side with black line above it
Striped Kukri Snake – light line on back, characteristic dark mask on head
Rainbow Water Snake – thick body, two yellow-to-red lines on back
Primarily Brown/Black Snakes
Monocled Cobra – Large head, characteristic “monocle” on back of neck, venomous and dangerous!
Indo-Chinese Rat Snake – Large eye, no markings on adults
Oriental Rat Snake – Large eye, indistinct dark bands on back third of body
Yellow-spotted Keelback – large eye, black markings along side
Tentacled Snake – flattened brownish body, head with two tentacle-like appendages
Jagor’s Water Snake – Small eyes, short thick body, small dark blotches on side
Chanard’s Mud Snake – Small eyes, short thick body, light line on side with small black dots above it
Yellow-bellied Water Snake – Small eyes, dark above, yellow-to-cream below
Sunbeam Snake – No markings (except light collar on juveniles), iridescent scales
Javan Wart Snake – Loose skin, granular scales, squared-off head, gray with dark blotching
If live snakes are a bit too much right now, take a break with a game of SNAKE.