11 COMMON Snakes Found in Hong Kong! (2024)

Do you want to learn about the types of snakes in Hong Kong?

Types of snakes in Hong Kong

If so, you’ve come to the right place. In the article below, I have listed the snakes you can expect to see. Then, for each species, you will find out how to identify that snake correctly, along with pictures, interesting facts, and RANGE MAPS!

You’ll see that the snakes that live in Hong Kong are very different from each other. They range from venomous species to snakes that use constriction to immobilize their prey. In addition, certain snakes are common to find living around people.

11 COMMON snakes that live in Hong Kong:


#1. White-lipped Pit Viper

  • Trimeresurus albolabris

Also known as Green Tree Pit Viper and White-lipped Bamboo Pit Viper.

Types of snakes in Hong Kong

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Males are 60 cm (24 in) long. They also have light-colored side stripes, which the females lack.
  • Females are 81 cm (32 in) long.
  • Their coloring is green on the upper body, with lighter shades of yellow, light green, or white on the belly and sides of the head.

The White-lipped Pit Viper is one of the most widespread snakes in Hong Kong.

Their preferred habitat is shrublands, agricultural areas, forests, and suburban gardens. These vipers are ambush predators that wait for small mammals, birds, and frogs to come by. When a meal gets close, they attack, injecting venom until the prey dies.

White-lipped Vipers are solitary and most active at night, which helps them to avoid hunting during high temperatures. They prefer cooler weather because it’s easier to use their heat-sensitive pits. These organs pick up the body heat of animals, but that heat can be hard to distinguish on warmer nights.

White-lipped Pit Vipers also use their heat-sensitive pits to find cool areas where they can rest. Old animal burrows, leaf litter, and the base of shrubs are all likely spots to find these snakes, but it’s better to avoid them if you can. The White-lipped Pit Viper has hemotoxic venom, which can cause various symptoms. Some people report only mild irritation, but this snake’s bite can cause pain, blood clots, and death if left untreated.


#2. Many-banded Krait

  • Bungarus multicinctus

Also known as the Chinese Krait or the Taiwanese Krait.

Types of snakes in Hong Kong

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 1-1.5 m (3-5 ft) long. The record length is 1.85 m (6.1 ft).
  • Its body is slim and slightly compressed on the sides, with the spine visible on top.
  • Their coloring is dark bluish-black with white cross bands along the back.

Look for the Many-banded Krait in shrublands, agricultural fields, woodlands, suburban areas, and villages. It often makes its home inside abandoned buildings. This species prefers to stay close to water, so pay close attention to rice paddies, ditches, and riverbanks.

It’s best to keep your distance from this highly venomous snake in Hong Kong.

Many-banded Kraits have strong jaws and can twist sharply, landing a bite even when held behind the head. It can take up to an hour to show symptoms of a bite, by which time there can be lethal consequences. So if you see one in the wild, it should be left alone.


#3. Chinese Green Snake

  • Ptyas major

Types of snakes in Hong Kong

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 75–90 cm (30-35 in) long.
  • Its coloring is bright green above, with greenish-yellow scales on the sides and belly.
  • Some specimens have scattered black spots on the back.

The Chinese Green Snake is semi-arboreal, meaning it splits time between trees and the ground. They prefer to live in humid forests and farmland. When encountered, they tend to be mild-mannered and rarely bite.

This diurnal snake is most active during the day in Hong Kong and spends its nights resting on tree branches. Its diet consists of insects and their larvae, earthworms, and other soft-bodied invertebrates. The Chinese Green Snake is non-venomous.


#4. Chinese Cobra

  • Naja atra

Also known as Taiwan Cobra.

Types of snakes in Hong Kong

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 1.2-1.5 m (4-5 ft) long.
  • Their coloring is iridescent black overall, with several white or yellow lines on the body and a white throat.
  • They have the prominent fanned hood typical of a cobra species.

The Chinese Cobra is one of the most venomous snakes in Hong Kong.

Its typical habitat is shrublands and mangroves. However, it’s highly adaptable to a wide range of terrain, including grassland plains, open fields, jungle, and even heavily populated regions. The only habitat it avoids is dark forests with a closed canopy.

The Chinese Cobra has a varied diet and hunts both night and day, so you can see this species at any time. Unfortunately, this makes it even more dangerous for people who are caught unaware. Many accidentally stumble upon a Chinese Cobra and are bitten before they notice the snake.

This species’ highly venomous bite contains cardiotoxins, which damage the heart and muscles, and neurotoxins, which damage the brain and nerves. This combination causes life-threatening symptoms, including necrosis, chest pain, fever, lockjaw, and difficulty breathing. Fortunately, antivenom is widely available, so seek immediate treatment if you’re bitten.


#5. Yellow-spotted Keelback

  • Fowlea flavipunctatus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow up to 1 m (3.2 ft) long.
  • They are predominantly yellow or beige, with dark brown or black spots and a defined “V” marking on their necks.
  • The eyes are notably large compared to the head.

The Yellow-spotted Keelback is a semi-aquatic snake living in slow rivers, marshes, and lakes. It also thrives in wet human-modified habitats, such as rice fields and ditches.

This snake is most active during the day and hunts with its strong swimming abilities. Its diet consists mostly of fish and frogs, and it serves as pest control by preying on rats and mice.

Even though the Yellow Keelback is considered non-venomous, it should be left alone if encountered in its natural habitat. It tends to get aggressive, biting and drawing blood if startled or scared. Stay back!


#6. Common Mock Viper

  • Psammodynastes pulverulentus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults reach a maximum length of 65 cm (26 in).
  • Their coloring is brown with darker brown and white flecks.
  • The head is paddle-shaped and wider at the back.

Common Mock Vipers got their name by mimicking the most venomous snakes in Hong Kong.

Its impressive mimicking abilities include changing the shape of its pupils to resemble a viper and mimicking the viper’s attacking technique. However, despite its excellent acting skills, this species is not venomous, and its bite is harmless, though painful, to humans.

Common Mock Vipers live in tropical wet forests. Even though they are primarily terrestrial snakes, they can climb trees and branches. Sometimes, they use this ability to hang over the water and wait for prey to wander by.


#7. Oriental Ratsnake

  • Ptyas mucosa

Also known as Darash Indian Ratsnake or Dhaman.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 1.5-1.95 m (5-6.3 ft), while the record is 3.7 m (12 ft) long.
  • Their color varies depending on habitat: pale browns in dry regions and nearly black in moist forest areas.
  • Regardless of the upper coloring, the belly is a pale yellow to cream.

Look for Oriental Ratsnakes in rice paddies, wetlands, farmland, and suburban areas. They usually prey upon small reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Interestingly, adults subdue their prey by sitting on it, using their body weight to weaken it.

Oriental Ratsnakes are wary, quick to flee, and fast-moving. If they can’t get away, adults make a growling sound and inflate their necks to mimic the posture of the King Cobra. This mimicry is likely a response to King Cobras preying on juvenile Oriental Ratsnakes.

Aside from cobras, these snakes don’t face any other animal predators. However, in some regions, humans hunt them for their skin and meat. Currently, there are efforts to regulate hunting and protect the population.


#8. Burmese Python

  • Python bivittatus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow up to 5 m (16 ft) in length.
  • They are dark colored with brown blotches bordered by black down the length of their bodies.
  • Females are usually a little longer and heavier than males.

The Burmese Python is an excellent swimmer and climber, using its prehensile tail to grip branches as it moves through trees. They can remain underwater for up to 30 minutes but spend most of their time on land. Because of poaching, habitat destruction, and egg hunting for trade, Burmese Pythons are listed as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN in their native range.

Burmese Pythons are often sold as pets since they have attractive color morphs and an easygoing disposition.

Unfortunately, irresponsible pet owners have let Burmese Pythons escape, allowing this species to become invasive in the Florida Everglades. The Everglades provide a perfect habitat for these invasive snakes, with plenty of water and flat land. However, there are no predators here to keep the population in check, and they’ve come close to wiping out several native species because of their enormous numbers.

YouTube video

#9. Indo-Chinese Rat Snake

  • Ptyas korros

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow up to 108 cm (43 in) long.
  • The upper body is olive, orange, or brown, and the belly is yellow. The tail is yellow, edged with black.
  • This species has very large round eyes with round pupils.

The Indo-Chinese Rat Snake is active during the day when it hunts lizards, rodents, and sometimes birds. They can adapt to various habitats but prefer forested areas, grasslands, and plantations close to a water source. This species is common to find on walks and hikes because it’s relatively comfortable around people. Watch your step!

Indo-Chinese Rat Snakes are non-venomous, but their bite is still painful. Their first response to danger is to flee quickly. If that doesn’t work, they can expand their neck vertically, making them look taller and more imposing to predators. Finally, they will strike if forced into a confrontation.


#10. Copperhead Rat Snake

  • Coelognathus radiatus

Also known as Radiated Ratsnake or Copper-headed Trinket Snake.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 150-210 cm (59-83 in) long.
  • Their coloring is brown, copper, gray, or tan, with black stripes that fade toward the tail.
  • This species has a slender head with medium round eyes and round pupils.

Despite being non-venomous, this is one of the most aggressive snakes in Hong Kong!

Copperhead Rat Snakes are so vicious they’re often used as training snakes for people looking to get into handling venomous species, especially cobras. They’re highly defensive, making them difficult to control.

If they find themselves threatened, they inflate the neck to show bluish skin, bend the anterior half of the body into loops and open the mouth widely. If handled, they have a very quick strike and painful bite.

The Copperhead Rat Snake’s usual habitats are rocky, overgrown open spaces, grassy areas, shrublands, and jogging trails. They are mostly active during the day, so use caution if you go hiking or running in its range.


#11. Brahminy Blindsnake

  • Indotyphlops braminus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 5.1-10.2 cm (2-4 in) long.
  • Their coloring varies; charcoal gray, light yellow-beige, silver-gray, purplish, and white are common.
  • The body shape is worm-like, and they are easily mistaken for earthworms.

This tiny species is the smallest snake in Hong Kong.

The Brahminy Blindsnake, as its name suggests, is almost completely blind. It has small, translucent eyes that can detect light but not form images. Although native to Hong Kong, this species is naturalized worldwide. It’s transported in the soil of potted plants, so the species earned the nickname Flowerpot Snake.

They spend almost all their time underground in ant and termite nests and live under logs, moist leaves, and stones. Look for them in suburban and even urban gardens and moist forests.

When distressed or attacked, the Brahminy Blindsnake will try to escape underground. If touched, it might press its tail on the attacker and release a smelly musk. Despite its rather creepy appearance, this snake is completely harmless to humans.


Do you want to learn about other animals in Hong Kong?

If so, check out these guides!


Which of these snakes have you seen before in Hong Kong?

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