Snakes in Bali

By Snaketracks / September 12, 2021

There are more than 37 types of snakes in Bali both venomous and non-venomous. There are more than likely many more, but at this stage not all have been discovered.

Most of these species are only active at night, and on top of that, they’re quite skittish, so even if you happen to run across one, chances are that it will be gone before you even notice it.

So while we can assume that the list below is not final, let’s take a look at the snake species that have been spotted in Bali.

Snakes in Bali

1. Javan Spitting Cobra

Javan Spitting Cobra (Naja sputa)
Javan Spitting Cobra (Naja sputa) – source
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Elapidae
  • Scientific Name: Naja sputatrix
  • Other Names: Indonesian cobra, equatorial spitting cobra
  • Adult Size: 4.3ft
  • Lifespan: 14 years
  • Price Range: N/A

The Javan spitting cobra prefers humid and tropical habitats, which makes Bali a perfect home for this snake. However, the species can also relatively easily adapt to other kinds of environments, including more arid areas and dry savannah ecosystems.

The Javan spitting cobra is a defensive species and reacts to the slightest sign of danger by spitting out the venom. In fact, the scientific name for the species, sputatrix, comes from Latin and means “spitter”. This snake’s venom has cardiotoxic properties, which means that it attacks the heart. It is a very potent toxin, but it takes a while to work.

The species is usually active at night and prefers to feed on small mammals, such as rodents, but won’t refuse frogs, lizards, and even other snakes. However, while it is a predator, it is also prey to the Komodo dragon.

2. King Cobra

King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)
King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Elapidae
  • Scientific Name: Ophiophagus hannah
  • Other Names: Hamadryad
  • Adult Size: 10-13ft
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Price Range: $1300

The second cobra species on our list is much larger and arguably much more dangerous. The venom of the king cobra attacks the central nervous system. A bite can cause dizziness, extreme pain, loss of vision, drowsiness, and even paralysis. If no medical attention is given on time, the bitten person may fall into a coma.

The king cobra is quite easy to recognize – it is usually dark olive or black with vividly colored yellow to orange bands. As in other cobra species, the neck is flat and wide, forming a hood, and the snake uses it as a warning sign.

Luckily, king cobras aren’t aggressive unless they’re cornered or defending their eggs. If a king cobra feels threatened, it will raise the front part of its body and extend the hood to appear even larger (as if that’s necessary!). It will show fangs and hiss, and may even follow the target for a certain distance.

3. Island Pit Viper

A baby Lesser Sunda pit viper (Trimeresurus insularis)
A baby Lesser Sunda pit viper (Trimeresurus insularis)
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Viperidae
  • Scientific Name: Trimeresurus insularis
  • Other Names: white-lipped island pit viper, Sunda island pit viper
  • Adult Size: 22 in
  • Lifespan: 11 years
  • Price Range: N/A 

Although significantly smaller than the previous two entries on our list, the island pit viper is very aggressive and generally considered dangerous. Which is a shame, because this snake is, quite honestly, stunning. Although most specimens are of a uniform green dorsal color with a somewhat lighter belly, there are some individuals that are sky-blue.

However, as beautiful as it is, this snake is the culprit in a large percentage of snake bites in Bali. Luckily, its venom is rarely lethal, but it still causes quite a lot of pain, swelling, and even necrosis. It doesn’t help that the species is not one to run away from a fight – whenever it feels threatened, it is more likely to attack than flee.

4. White-Lipped Pit Viper

Island Pit Viper (Trimeresurus insularis)
White Lipped Island Pit Viper (Trimeresurus albolabris insularis)
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Viperidae 
  • Scientific Name: Trimeresurus albolabris insularis
  • Other Names: green tree pit viper, white-lipped tree viper, white-lipped green pit viper, white-lipped bamboo pit viper
  • Adult Size: 24 in (males), 32 in (females)
  • Lifespan: 11 years
  • Price Range: N/A

The white-lipped pit viper is the island pit viper’s close cousin, although it is a somewhat better-known species. Since it is an arboreal snake (spends most of its time in trees), it comes as no surprise that a big portion of its diet consists of birds. Other animals it feeds on include amphibians (frogs) and mammals (rodents).

The species uniform green color allows the snake to blend in with the branches and foliage, providing a great camouflage, so it’s not surprising that bites are relatively common – after all, you could approach the snake without even knowing it.

The white-lipped pit viper is quite venomous. Although most incidents have a happy ending, fatalities do happen. The venom has procoagulant properties, which means that it makes blood clot more quickly. 

5. Banded Krait

Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus)
Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus)
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Elapidae
  • Scientific Name: Bungarus fasciatus
  • Other Names: welang
  • Adult Size: 7 ft 5 in
  • Lifespan: 13 years
  • Price Range: N/A

The banded krait is the largest of all kraits and is easily identifiable by alternating thick black and yellow bands. The body is somewhat triangular, with a prominent ridge down the middle of its back.

The snake is nocturnal and quite shy, which makes it quite hard to spot, even if you’re actively looking for it (which we don’t recommend – it is venomous, after all). That being said, it adapts relatively easily to a wide array of habitats, from forests to agricultural fields.

The venom of the banded krait is quite potent and causes dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and severe stomach ache. In some cases, it can lead to lung failure and consequently death. Luckily, you would really have to try hard to provoke this snake to bite you, as it usually remains lethargic even if harassed.

6. Banded Sea Krait

Yellow lipped sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) underwater
Yellow lipped sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) underwater
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Elapidae
  • Scientific Name: Laticauda colubrina
  • Other Names: yellow-lipped sea krait, colubrine sea krait
  • Adult Size: 30in (males), 50in (females)
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A

With a neurotoxic venom, this is yet another krait species to watch out for when in Bali. The species spends quite a bit of time in saltwater, where it hunts for trevally fish and goatfish. However, the banded sea krait comes ashore to breed, rest, and digest food.

You are not unlikely to encounter the species along the Indonesian coastline, but as long as you don’t harass it, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The banded sea krait is not considered aggressive – luckily, since its venom is quite potent. Untreated envenomation will cause lethargy, cyanosis, and potentially lethal hypertension.

The banded sea krait looks very similar to the banded krait, with the exception of coloration and body shape. This species has bands that usually alternate between shades of black and white. The body is cylindrical rather than triangular.

7. Blue Krait

Blue Krait (Bungarus candidus)
Blue Krait (Bungarus candidus)
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Elapidae
  • Scientific Name: Bungarus candidus
  • Other Names: Malayan krait, Malayan blue krait
  • Adult Size: 43 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A 

The blue krait has an array of black crossbands that are wider apart than those of banded kraits and banded sea kraits. The bands are rounded on the sides. The area between the bands is usually white or yellowish-white. The belly is of a uniform white shade.

The venom of the blue krait is neurotoxic – it attacks the victim’s nervous system. If the victim doesn’t receive proper medical attention within a small time frame, there is a relatively high chance of the bite being fatal (around 60-70%). If no blue krait antivenin is available, tiger snake antivenin will do the trick.

The blue krait can usually be found close to bodies of water, including in rice fields, which is where most biting incidents happen.

8. Asian Coral Snake

Asian Coral Snake (Calliophis bivirgatus)
Asian Coral Snake (Calliophis bivirgatus)
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Elapidae
  • Scientific Name: Calliophis bivirgatus
  • Other Names: blue coral snake, blue Malayan coral snake
  • Adult Size: 5 ft 10 in
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Price Range: N/A 

The blue coral snake likes to be different – and it is. The unique coloration and pattern make it one of the most unique snake species in the world. While its back is a uniform black color, the head, tail, and belly are vibrant red. Usually, there is also a blue stripe on each side running from the head to the tail.

But don’t let unique beauty trick you into getting close to this snake. The blue coral snake is a highly venomous species! Unlike most other elapid snakes, this one doesn’t have neurotoxic venom.

It is, however, cytotoxic, and it causes instant paralysis. It also brings blood pressure to dangerously low levels. Fatalities from the bite of the blue coral snake are not uncommon, especially since no antidote exists yet.

The Asian coral snake is semi-fossorial and spends a lot of time under leaves and rocks. When it feels threatened, its first instinct is usually to try to escape, but if cornered, it uses its vividly colored tail as a warning sign before striking. The snake mostly feeds on other venomous snakes.

9. Red-Necked Keelback Snake

Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus)
Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus) – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Rhabdophis subminiatus
  • Other Names: red-necked keelback
  • Adult Size: 27-35 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A 

The red-necked keelback is quite a uniquely colored snake. The body is olive to grey with a white checkered pattern, while the area around the head has yellow to red coloration. There is also a black “necklace” around the neck, while the head is usually grey.

Initially, the red-necked keelback was initially thought to be harmless to humans. It is generally tolerant to being picked up and handled.

What’s more, being a rear-fanged snake, it needs to bite and hold on to the victim in order to envenomate it successfully, which likely played a role in its misclassification.

However, there have been several near-fatal incidents (and one fatal) involving this snake species, which has resulted in more careful research and the reclassification of the snake as dangerous.

10. Brahminy Blind Snake

Tiny Brahminy Blindsnake (Indotyphlops braminus) coiled around a penny
Tiny Brahminy Blindsnake (Indotyphlops braminus) coiled around a penny
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Serpentes
  • Scientific Name: Indotyphlops braminus
  • Other Names: flowerpot snake, common blind snake, island blind snake
  • Adult Size: 2-4 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A

The brahminy blind snake is a tiny worm-like snake species. In fact, it is so worm-like that most people do confuse it for a worm. It is only around 3 inches long and has a rounded head and tail. It is the smallest snake species we have discovered so far.

Unlike pretty much all other snakes, the brahminy blind snake is parthenogenetic. In other words, it doesn’t need to mate in order to reproduce. All young are exact genetic copies of their mothers, and they are all female. This is a characteristic shared by many worm species.

Another thing this snake has in common with worms is its blindness. Well, to an extent. While it does have eyes, the brahminy blind snake can’t really discern images – it can only register the presence and intensity of light.

11. Burmese Python

Burmese python (Python bivittatus) in Jacksonville Zoo
Burmese python (Python bivittatus) in Jacksonville Zoo
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Pythonidae
  • Scientific Name: Python bivittatus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 16 ft
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Price Range: $200-$100

The Burmese python is one of the largest snake species in the world. It comes in different shades of brown, with a lighter background color and darker large, irregular blotches. This massive snake regularly exceeds 15 feet in length, and the largest recorded specimen was longer than 18 feet.

Although non-venomous, this snake isn’t exactly a gentle giant. It mostly feeds on mammals and birds, as well as reptiles and amphibians. It kills its prey by constriction and swallows it in one piece. In Florida, where they are an invasive species, Burmese pythons have been spotted attacking alligators!

Despite their size, Burmese pythons are often kept as pets. This, along with other factors, has led to their classification as a vulnerable species. They are also often hunted for their skin, which holds high value in the fashion industry.

12. Reticulated Python

Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Pythonidae
  • Scientific Name: Python reticulatus (Malayopython reticulatus)
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4-21ft
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Price Range: $150-$1500

The reticulated python is the largest snake species native to Asia. It has a complex dorsal pattern consisting of yellow, tan, brown, and black blotches, specks, and stripes. There is a lot of variety both in appearance and size among geographically separated populations.

Like other python species, the reticulated python is an ambush predator, rather than a hunter. It usually feeds on mammals but will occasionally eat a bird. The exact choice of food mainly depends on the specimen’s size and it varies from small rodents, such as mice, to pigs, and even deer. There have also been reports of the reticulated python eating a child.

In fact, this is one of the very few species that actively prey on humans (most other snakes will only attack us if they feel threatened). Despite this, pythons are still a relatively common pet among reptile aficionados. Captive breeding has also resulted in exotic morphs, such as albino and tiger pythons.

13. Chinese Rat Snake

Chinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros)
Chinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Ptyas korros
  • Other Names: Indo-Chinese rat snake
  • Adult Size: 6ft
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: $140

The first thing you would probably notice about this long and thin snake are its very large, round eyes. It is also easily identifiable by its brown color and olive tail. Each individual scale has somewhat of a color gradient and sometimes black borders, giving the snake a pretty unique look. The belly is usually tan.

The Chinese rat snake is active during the day and very fast. It spends most of its time on the ground. Unfortunately, its speed doesn’t always save this snake from oncoming traffic, as it is often found as roadkill. This snake can usually be seen in grasslands and agricultural areas. It feeds on rats and other rodents, as well as frogs and lizards.

14. Oriental Rat Snake

Two Male Indian rat snakes (Ptyas mucosa) intertwined on dirt road
Two Male Indian rat snakes (Ptyas mucosa) intertwined on dirt road
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Ptyas mucosa
  • Other Names: Indian rat snake, darash, dhaman
  • Adult Size: 4ft 11in – 6ft 5in
  • Lifespan: 11 years
  • Price Range: N/A

The oriental rat snake is just as long and slender as its Chinese cousin. However, the eyes are smaller and there is a greater variety in coloration. Although most oriental rat snakes are a shade of brown, there are some specimens that are almost completely black. The belly is white and can have black stripes.

Juvenile oriental rat snakes often fall prey to birds, mammals, and other reptiles. Luckily, they are quite fast-moving and have great reflexes, so catching them is quite difficult. As adults, however, these snakes have no natural predators. In fact, they often feed on king cobras!

When threatened, the oriental rat snake produces a growl-like sound and inflates its neck to appear larger, much like a cobra (this behavior probably has the goal to confuse the predator into thinking that the snake is venomous). 

15. Radiated Rat Snake

Radiated Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiatus)
Radiated Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiatus)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Coelognathus radiatus
  • Other Names: copperhead rat snake, copper-headed trinket snake, copperhead racer
  • Adult Size: 6-7ft
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: $90

The radiated rat snake can easily be identified by black markings on its head – stripes that begin at the eye and stretch in different directions. The body is thin and usually of a brown or red shade. There are four dark (usually black) stripes running along its back. The inner two stripes are usually thicker than the outer two.

The radiated rat snake is one of the species that exhibit a somewhat unusual defensive behavior. When it feels threatened, this snake rolls on its back and completely relaxes its body in an effort to fake being dead. This behavior is known as thanatosis. However, there is also a chance the snake will defend itself aggressively, so it’s probably best to stay away.

This snake is diurnal (active during the day) and is usually found in both low-land and hillside areas. It spends most of its time on the ground, but it can also climb trees, although it rarely does so. The radiated rat snake feeds mostly on rodents and small mammals.

16. White-Banded Wolf Snake

White-Banded Wolf Snake (Lycodon subcinctus) by CW Gan
White-Banded Wolf Snake (Lycodon subcinctus) by CW Gan
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Lycodon subcinctus
  • Other Names: Malayan banded wolf snake, banded wolf snake
  • Adult Size: 3ft
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A

Unfortunately, despite what its common name might suggest, this snake doesn’t resemble a wolf in any way (although you have to agree that would be interesting to see). However, the alternating black and white thick bands do resemble the coloration of some krait species.

Unlike banded sea kraits, however, this species isn’t venomous. It is active at night and spends most of its time on the ground (although it often climbs trees, as well).

When threatened, the white-banded wolf snake will usually attempt to flee. However, if cornered or picked up, it will try to strike (remember, even if non-venomous, bites can still be painful!). The white-banded wolf snake’s favorite items on the menu are lizards – more precisely, geckos and skinks.

17. Oriental Wolf Snake

Lycodon capucinus from Pranburi Forest Park
Lycodon capucinus from Pranburi Forest Park – source
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Lycodon capucinus
  • Other Names: common wolf snake
  • Adult Size: 30-39in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A

We have already established that wolf snakes don’t look like wolves. But there has to be a reason they’re called that. It’s actually their front teeth, which are somewhat enlarged and resemble wolf fangs.

The oriental wolf snake comes in a variety of earthy tones, from grayish shades to browns. White or otherwise lightly colored spots are scattered in a regular pattern along the backside, with a distinct white “necklace” near the head. The snout is somewhat flat and square, which makes digging easier.

Although the species is technically venomous, this venom is not potent enough to be considered harmful to humans. At most, the bite will cause some pain and swelling. The venom works great on the snake’s primary prey, which mostly consists of lizards.

18. Indian Wolf Snake

Indian Wolf Snake in Panna Tiger Reserve (Lycodon aulicus)
Indian Wolf Snake in Panna Tiger Reserve (Lycodon aulicus)
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Lycodon aulicus
  • Other Names: common wolf snake
  • Adult Size: 28 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A

Much like the white-banded wolf snake, the Indian wolf snake has alternating dark and light bands which make it resemble the much more dangerous (and venomous) common krait.

This characteristic is known as Batesian mimicry, and it is a kind of defense mechanism. The exact coloration of these bands varies and most likely depends on the geographic location.

This is a nocturnal species that mostly feeds on lizards and frogs. Its favorite food is believed to be the skink. In fact, it is likely that the characteristic wolf-like fangs are adapted to subdue precisely this lizard. Although the species will try to feign death when scared, it won’t refrain from trying to bite if it sees no other way out.

19. White-Bellied Blind Snake

  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Typhlopidae
  • Scientific Name: Argyrophis muelleri
  • Other Names: Mueller’s blind snake
  • Adult Size: 3-18in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A 

Although larger than a typical worm, the white-bellied blind snake resembles worms in many other ways. The head is rounded, the body is cylindrical, and the snake spends most of its time underground. It may come to the surface after rain.

The coloration of the white-bellied blind snake makes it quite easy to recognize – the belly is white, as you may have guessed, while the back is uniformly black or dark brown. There is a clear boundary between these two colors on the snake.

The tail of the white-bellied blind snake has a sharp spine that it most likely uses to hunt. It feeds on larvae, insects, and earthworms. Despite the name, the snake is not blind – well, at least not completely. It can see light, but not much else. 

20. Dog-Faced Water Snake

Dog-faced racer (Cerberus rynchops) by Alexandre Roux
Dog-faced racer (Cerberus rynchops) by Alexandre Roux
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Homalopsidae
  • Scientific Name: Cerberus rynchops
  • Other Names: New Guinea bockadam, South Asian bockadam, bockadam snake
  • Adult Size: 15-23in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A

The dog-faced water snake got its name after the relatively dog-like shape of its head. It has protruding eyes, which is very uncommon for snakes. If you ask us, that doesn’t make it all that dog-like, but who are we to judge?

The body of this snake is usually of a brownish or grayish shade with darker bands. This coloration allows it to blend in with the background in muddy and leafy areas. It is mildly venomous, although generally not considered dangerous.

This snake spends a lot of time in saltwater. Even on the ground, however, it can move very quickly. Needless to say, it is an excellent swimmer. It mostly feeds on fish which it catches by ambushing or even stealing from other snakes.

21. Asian Vine Snake

Oriental Whipsnake (Ahaetulla prasina )- Kaeng Krachan National Park
Oriental Whipsnake (Ahaetulla prasina )- Kaeng Krachan National Park – source
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Ahaetulla prasina
  • Other Names: Boie’s whip snake, Gunther’s whip snake, Oriental whip snake
  • Adult Size: 6 ft
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Price Range: $30-$80

The Asian vine snake, native to southern regions and islands of Asia, is quite easy to recognize. It has a long, very thin body, usually of vibrant green color (although there are brown specimens, too). The head is flat, triangular, long, and much wider than the body.

This snake is diurnal and mildly venomous. However, this venom isn’t too harmful to humans, which is good, because it’s all too easy to approach this snake without noticing it. Its slender body and coloration allow it to blend in perfectly with the background.

The Asian vine snake feeds on lizards, frogs, birds, and occasionally, rodents. Even though it is not considered dangerous to humans and is becoming a more and more popular pet choice, this species is not recommended for inexperienced snake enthusiasts.

22. Painted Bronzeback

Painted Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis pictus)
Painted Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis pictus)
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Dendrelaphis pictus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 46 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A

The painted bronzeback is an exclusively diurnal species. It feeds on lizards and frogs, which it hunts during the day. At night, it spends its time on tree branches. The species is quite skittish and usually flees at the first sign of danger.

The body of the painted bronzeback is long and thin, while the head is slightly wider. The back is usually of a brown shade with black stripes, while the sides and the belly are tan.

This coloration, along with the shape of the snake’s body, makes it pretty difficult to spot. When threatened or eating, the painted bronzeback will inflate its body to reveal turquoise-colored skin.

23. Paradise Flying Snake

Paradise flying snake (Chrysopelea paradisi)
Paradise flying snake (Chrysopelea paradisi)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Chrysopelea paradisi
  • Other Names: paradise tree snake
  • Adult Size: 47 in
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Price Range: $300-$350

The paradise flying snake is a somewhat rare species. It is a great climber and spends quite a lot of time in trees (hence its other common name, paradise tree snake). But more surprisingly, this snake is a good flyer – or rather, glider.

It can glide by “jumping” off of tree branches and flattening its body. It’s not uncommon for the paradise flying snake to cover 30 or more feet while gliding.

The body of the paradise tree snake is long and slender, and the coloration is quite distinct and beautiful. It consists of a black background and white spots and blotches all over its backside. It feeds on lizards and frogs and is mildly venomous.

24. Dog-Toothed Cat Snake

Dog-Toothed Cat Snake (Boiga cynodon)
Dog-Toothed Cat Snake (Boiga cynodon)
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Boiga cynodon
  • Other Names: Dog-tooth cat snake
  • Adult Size: 6ft 6in
  • Lifespan: 9 years
  • Price Range: $200-$250

The dog-toothed cat snake is a terrestrial-arboreal species, which means that it spends a significant amount of time both on the ground and in trees. It usually has a brown background color with irregular black bands with white edges.

The bands get closer to each other further down the body and on the tail. There is also a thick black stripe behind each eye.

Like many other colubrids, the dog-toothed cat snake (which, by the way, looks nothing like a dog nor like a cat) is mildly venomous. It uses the venom to subdue reptilian prey, mostly lizards. It also occasionally feeds on bats, birds, and small mammals, as well as bird eggs.

25. Gold-Ringed Cat Snake

Mangrove Snake (Boiga dendrophila)
Mangrove Snake (Boiga dendrophila)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Boiga dendrophila
  • Other Names: mangrove snake, yellow-ringed cat snake
  • Adult Size: 7ft 7in
  • Lifespan: 12-17 years
  • Price Range: $150

The mangrove snake is one of the biggest representatives of cat snakes. It is quite easy to identify – the background color is glossy black. There are thin bright yellow bands that may or may not be disconnected in the middle of the back. The belly is of the same vibrant yellow color.

Although the gold-ringed snake is only slightly venomous, it is still considered quite dangerous due to its aggressive temperament. It won’t refrain from biting if it feels threatened (and as with most snake bites, the mangrove snake’s bite can be quite painful). This is true even for pet mangrove snakes – they can rarely be tamed enough to allow handling without getting upset.

The venom of the gold-ringed cat snake is believed to be tailored to birds – the species’ favorite snack. Aside from them, the mangrove snake also feeds on reptiles and small mammals.

26. Marbled Cat Snake

Many spotted cat snake (Boiga multomaculata)
Many spotted cat snake (Boiga multomaculata)
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Boiga multomaculata
  • Other Names: many-spotted cat snake, large-spotted cat snake, spotted cat snake
  • Adult Size: 33 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: $550

The marbled cat snake is a much smaller and much rarer species of cat snake than the previous two on our list. It is usually tan and has darker brown blotches with white outlines. The top of the head is embellished with two wide strips.

This snake spends most of its time in trees and doesn’t seem to be too comfortable on the ground when predators are near. When threatened, it assumes an S-shape with the front half of its body and is ready to strike. It usually first warns the target by striking with its mouth closed, but if that doesn’t work, it won’t refrain from actually biting.

Unlike most other snake species, the marbled cat snake is cathemeral, which means that it is active at all times of the day. However, it usually only hunts in the early morning and mostly feeds on lizards and lizard eggs.

27. Slug Eater

Keeled slug-eating snake (Pareas carinatus) - Kaeng Krachan National Park
Keeled slug-eating snake (Pareas carinatus) – Kaeng Krachan National Park – source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Pareidae
  • Scientific Name: Pareas carinatus
  • Other Names: keeled slug-eating snake, keeled slug snake
  • Adult Size: 24 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: $150

The slug eater is among those snakes that everyone seems to agree are cute. It has a very short snout, large round eyes, and a mouth that almost looks like it’s smiling. The body is long and slender, usually of a brownish shade.

As you have probably guessed, this snake loves to eat slugs. In fact, it most likely exclusively eats slugs and snails. Its short snout is designed specifically for this type of diet – it can take snails out of their shells quite easily.

The slug-eating snake spends most of its time in trees and is nocturnal. It is non-venomous and extremely docile. It’s very rare for this snake to attempt to bite a human, even if picked up and handled.

28. Sunbeam Snake

Sunbeam Snake (Xenopeltis unicolor)
Sunbeam Snake (Xenopeltis unicolor)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Xenopeltidae
  • Scientific Name: Xenopeltis unicolor
  • Other Names: Iridescent earth snake
  • Adult Size: 3ft 3in
  • Lifespan: 9 years
  • Price Range: $50-$100

Even though it is unicolored, as its scientific name suggests, the sunbeam snake definitely deserves a place among the most beautiful snake species in the world.

The smooth scales are highly iridescent and reflect light in beautiful colors. This, paired with the fact that the sunbeam snake is completely non-venomous, has made the species a popular pet choice among reptile lovers.

But its beautiful appearance is not the only thing that makes this snake special. The sunbeam snake is among the oldest living species (such species are known as basal, ancestral, or primitive).

It is believed to be a close cousin of boas and pythons, although scientists still don’t agree on exactly which family the species belongs to.

29. Black Copper Rat Snake

Black Copper Rat Snake (Coelognathus flavolineatus) - Kaeng Krachan National Park
Black Copper Rat Snake (Coelognathus flavolineatus) – Kaeng Krachan National Park – source
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Coelognathus flavolineatus
  • Other Names: yellow-striped racer, yellow-striped snake, Malayan racer, yellow-striped trinket snake
  • Adult Size: 5-6ft
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A 

The black copper rat snake is yet another easily identifiable species. The body is relatively slender, and the background color is black or gray. Along the spine, there is a prominent yellow line, stretching from the head towards the tail, where it gradually fades.

The background color near the head is also of a yellowish shade. Its unique appearance makes it difficult to confuse with any other snake.

The Malayan racer is mostly a terrestrial species (it spends its time on the ground), but it is a good climber, too. It feeds on all kinds of small animals, including rodents, lizards, and frogs. They are non-venomous and considered harmless to humans (although their bite can hurt quite a bit).

When threatened, the Malayan racer will mimic the behavior of a venomous species, namely cobra. It will elevate the front part of its body and puff up the “hood” around its neck. It may also play dead or, most likely, attempt to escape.

30. Collared Snake

  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Sibynophis geminatus
  • Other Names: striped litter snake
  • Adult Size: 20 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A 

This is an extremely rare and secretive species that we don’t know a lot about. Aside from being relatively small and skittish, it is also great at hiding. It spends most of its time among fallen leaf litter (which is how it got its other common name, the striped litter snake).

The collared snake has a dark basic color, usually a shade of brown, which allows it to blend in with the background perfectly. It has an orange “collar” around the neck, as well as a stripe running along each side of its body.

The collard snake mostly feeds on small lizards. It is terrestrial and oviparous (it lays eggs). It can mostly be found in wet areas, mainly tropical and subtropical forests.

31. Little File Snake

Little file snake (Acrochordus granulatus)
Little file snake (Acrochordus granulatus)
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • Family: Acrochordidae
  • Scientific Name: Acrochordus granulatus
  • Other Names: marine file snake, little wart snake, banded file snake
  • Adult Size: 47 in
  • Lifespan: 3-5 years
  • Price Range: $100

In this list, we have encountered some of the most beautiful snakes out there. Well, now it’s time to visit the other side of that spectrum. There’s no better way to say this – the little file snake is simply ugly.

It has a very thick body with lots of loose skin and rough, almost-spiny scales designed to make gliding on slippery surfaces easier. The head is tiny and rounded, with eyes and mouth that are so small, they’re barely visible.

This is an exclusively aquatic species – it is clumsy on dry land, to say the least. It can mostly be found in river estuaries. Despite having “salt glands”, it doesn’t tolerate saltwater all too well (although it can spend a limited amount of time in it) and is prone to dehydration. The little file snake is nocturnal and feeds on fish and snails.

32. Red-Tailed Racer

Red-tail green rat snake (Gonyosoma oxycephalum) resting on branch in enclosure
Red-tail green rat snake (Gonyosoma oxycephalum) resting on branch in enclosure
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Gonyosoma oxycephalum
  • Other Names: arboreal rat snake, red-tailed green ratsnake
  • Adult Size: 8 ft
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Price Range: $150

The red-tailed racer is a beautiful tree-dwelling snake with smooth, vivid-green scales. It has a relatively stout and long body. The tail is of an orange-red shade, a characteristic which earned the species its common name – red-tailed racer.

The red-tailed racer feeds on a variety of prey, including birds, bats, and lizards. However, its favorite snacks are bird eggs, which it notoriously steals straight from the nest. Captive-bred specimens will settle for a diet of rodents.

Pet red-tailed racers can be quite difficult to handle. The species is quite snappy and aggressive, and it is not uncommon for it to try to bite the handler. Although it is possible to tame them, doing so requires great skill, patience, and a lot of experience.

33. Speckle-Bellied Keelback

Speckle-bellied Keelback (Rhabdophis chrysargos) juvenile
Speckle-bellied Keelback (Rhabdophis chrysargos) juvenile – source
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Rhabdophis chrysargos
  • Other Names: specklebelly keelback
  • Adult Size: 23 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A 

The speckle-bellied keelback snake is a relatively small species that vary greatly in coloration. From shades of red and green to various shades of brown, it is basically impossible to give a reliable description of this snake.

Coloration can even vary between individuals in the same population. What all specimens have in common, however, is the unique checkered pattern.

Although the species is mildly poisonous, it is considered completely harmless to humans. It mostly eats frogs, lizards, birds, and mammals. On the other hand, it is preyed upon by a number of larger species, including birds of prey, larger snakes, and monitor lizards.

34. Javan Keelback Water Snake

  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Fowlea melanzostus (Xenochrophis melanzostus)
  • Other Names: Javan keelback
  • Adult Size: 5-6ft
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A 

The Javan keelback water snake is an extremely rare species. It has only been spotted a handful of times, and not much is known about it. It appears to have two coloration combinations – blotches and stripes. Both varieties have distinct markings on their necks in the shape of the letter U and two stripes under the eyes.

The Javan keelback water snake was initially classified as a subspecies of the checkered keelback (Fowlea piscator), but it was later given the status of a separate species. In Indonesia, it can be found in Java and Bali. It feeds mainly on fish and amphibians.

35. Reed Snake

Pink Headed Reed Snake (Calamaria schlegelii)
Pink Headed Reed Snake (Calamaria schlegelii) – source
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Calamaria schlegelii
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: pink-headed reed snake, white-headed reed snake, red-headed reed snake
  • Lifespan: 18 in
  • Price Range: N/A 

This tiny snake is quite easy to recognize. It has a uniformly black backside and a bright-red head. However, the subspecies found in Indonesia, Calamaria schlegelii cuvieri usually has a brown head.

It is easy to confuse this harmless species with the venomous Malayan blue coral snake. The main difference is that the latter also has a red tail, while the former doesn’t.

The scientific specific name schlegelii is an homage to Hermann Schlegel, a German herpetologist. In fact, there are 9 species of animals, ranging from snakes to fish, named after him.

Although the reed snake is considered harmless, it is still not clear whether it is venomous. There is a possibility, based on one encounter, that it does have venom, but it most likely can’t cause serious harm to humans.

36. Striped Keelback Water Snake

Striped Keelback Water Snake (Xenoch vittatus)
Striped Keelback Water Snake (Xenoch vittatus) – source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Xenochrophis vittatus
  • Other Names: striped keelback, Indonesian garter snake
  • Adult Size: 27-28 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: $20

The striped keelback water snake is known in most of the western world as the Indonesian garter snake. However, it is in no way related to real garter snakes. It is one of the best beginner pet snakes to have. In fact, in Asia, it is not uncommon for children to own a striped keelback.

As the name suggests, the striped keelback has stripes. It is usually black with narrow yellow lines running from the back of the head to the tip of the tail. The underside is off-white with narrow black bands.

This snake is active during the daytime and feeds mostly on amphibians, fish, and lizards. It can be found near or in bodies of water, including rice fields, ponds, and ditches.

37. Boie’s Kukri Snake

  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Oligodon bitorquatus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 35 in
  • Lifespan: N/A
  • Price Range: N/A 

Boie’s kukri snake was named after German herpetologist Heinrich Boie, who spent a good portion of his life researching reptiles and amphibians in Indonesia. He is credited with describing over 50 new species.

Kukri snakes are medium-sized species that vary in coloration and pattern depending on the geographical location. They mostly feed on the eggs of birds and reptiles. They also occasionally eat small live animals.

They are rear-fanged and mildly venomous but are generally not considered dangerous to humans. Their venom might have some anticoagulant properties, which means that the bite of this snake tends to bleed more, but further research is necessary to confirm this.

Summary

Indonesia is a country with rich fauna. The province of Bali is no different. It is home to dozens of snake species, both big and small, dangerous and harmless, beautiful and, erm, more beautiful. What all these snakes have in common, however, is that they are marvelous creatures that deserve their place under the sun.

While not many of them are threatened by extinction yet, basically all snake species are facing some form of habitat or population loss due to human influence. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure no creature gets pushed off the face of the Earth, including snakes.

Sure, they may seem scary (and some of them really are!), but they play an important part in the Planet’s ecosystems, and without them, who knows what kind of ecological disbalance would loom over our heads.

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