9 COMMON Snakes Found in Taiwan! (2024)

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

Types of snakes in Taiwan

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 Taiwan 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.

9 COMMON snakes that live in Taiwan:


#1. Red-banded Snake

  • Lycodon rufozonatus

Types of snakes in Taiwan

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 70-130 cm (28-51 in) long.
  • The head is long, flat, and slightly wider than the neck.
  • Their coloring is dark brown with horizontal crimson lines on the back. The belly is beige, with black spots on the tail.

The Red-banded Snake is a nocturnal, medium-sized snake whose venom is not harmful to humans. They can be found in various habitats near water, such as marshes and river plains.

Even though these terrestrial snakes are usually found on the ground, they tend to be good climbers and swimmers. Look for them in small streams and ponds as well as in grassy areas. If they aren’t swimming or hunting, they curl into a spherical mass with the head hidden for protection.

Despite being relatively harmless, Red-banded Snakes in Taiwan should be given space.

If approached, some individuals can be unpredictable, and while they usually flee, they are also known to bite. They also have a defensive measure of secreting a very strong musk from the anal glands.


#2. Many-banded Krait

  • Bungarus multicinctus

Also known as the Chinese Krait or the Taiwanese Krait.

Types of snakes in Taiwan

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 Taiwan.

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 Taiwan

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 Taiwan 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 Green Tree Viper

  • Trimeresurus stejnegeri

Also known as the Chinese Pit Viper, Bamboo Viper, and Chinese Tree Viper.

Types of snakes in Taiwan

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow up to 90 cm (35 in) long.
  • They have triangular heads, noticeably red eyes, and bright green coloring. The end of the tail is brick red.
  • A thin white line runs down the sides, and males also have a red line in the same spot.

Don’t let this snake’s bright coloring and slow movements fool you; it’s aggressive and venomous! The Chinese Green Tree Viper prefers moist environments and often lives in cultivated farmland. Luckily, it’s rare to stumble on an active Chinese Green Tree Viper because they spend their days sleeping, preferring to hunt at night. This species eats rodents, frogs, birds, and other snakes.

If you see one of these snakes in Taiwan, back up slowly and give it plenty of space as you leave the area.

The Chinese Green Tree Viper’s venom is potent, and its bite can be lethal without medical attention. The symptoms include an extremely painful wound, often compared to being branded with a hot iron. The pain can last for up to 24 hours after the bite. Within a few minutes of being bitten, the hemotoxic venom breaks down blood and tissue, causing swelling and necrosis.


#5. Chinese Cobra

  • Naja atra

Also known as Taiwan Cobra.

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 Taiwan.

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.


#6. 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!


#7. 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 Taiwan.

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.


#8. 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.


#9. 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 Taiwan.

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 Taiwan, 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 Taiwan?

If so, check out these guides!


Which of these snakes have you seen before in Taiwan?

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