Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Twin-barred Tree Snake

Chrysopelea pelias

This snake is found in Thailand but not within Bangkok itself
Twin-barred Tree Snake Banded Flying Snake Chrysopelea pelias งูดอกหมากแดง malaysia
Twin-barred Tree Snake in peninsular Malaysia (© Steven Wong)

English name: Twin-barred Tree Snake (aka “Banded Flying Snake”)
Scientific name: Chrysopelea pelias
Thai name: งูดอกหมากแดง (Ngu Kieo Dokmak Daeng)

Description: To 74cm long. A slender, slightly vertically compressed snake. Body red on top and brown on the flanks, with cream cross-bars on top edged in black on both sides. Head brown with two thick red crossbars behind the eyes and 1-2 thin cream crossbars in front. Underbelly is cream.

Relevant scale counts: 17 midbody scale rows, dorsal scales smooth or with weak keels. Ventral scales are clearly keeled.

Similar Species: Paradise Tree Snake is primarily green with red markings only showing as lines of dots.

Range: Southern Thailand through Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Habitat: Open forest up to 600m, as well as adjacent plantations and gardens. Very highly arboreal.

Place in the ecosystem: This snake eats lizards and likely other small animals. The juveniles are eaten by birds of prey and larger snakes.

Danger to humans: It is not known to be as aggressive as its relatives sometimes can. Though it is a mildly venomous rear-fanged species, its venom appears to pose no danger to humans.

Conservation status and threats: The Twin-spotted Tree Snake is reported to be much less often observed than other similar species and sightings in Thailand are rather rare. Its conservation status is unevaluated.

Interesting facts: The Twin-Barred Tree Snake occupies much the same range as the Paradise Tree Snake, which is interesting for two such closely related species. Typically when two similar species occupy the same range, there is some difference between them that allows them to occupy different niches – either they occupy different habitats, have slightly different microhabitat preferences, or they have different prey preferences.

In this case, the Twin-barred Tree Snake tends to occupy more open forest, while the Paradise Tree Snake occupies denser, moister, greener forest. This difference in habitat is reflected in their coloration – the Twin-barred Tree Snake shows the browns and reds of open tree trunks, while the Paradise Tree Snake is marked with the greens of its moister, lusher habitat.

References:
Ecology Asia: Twin-barred Tree Snake
Thai National Parks: Twin-barred Tree Snake
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of Southeast Asia

%d bloggers like this: