Do you want to learn about the venomous snakes found in Malaysia?
If so, you have come to the right place. In the article below, I have listed the MOST COMMON venomous snakes you can expect to see. If I missed any, please leave a COMMENT at the bottom of the page. 🙂
You’ll see that the venomous snakes in Malaysia are very different from each other. They have different sizes, habitats, and even different types of venom. In addition, certain snakes are common to find living around people. For each species, you will find out how to identify that snake correctly, along with pictures, interesting facts, and RANGE MAPS!
10 Venomous Snakes that Live in Malaysia:
*If you encounter any of these species, PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB! Venomous snakes are dangerous animals and should be left alone. The more you agitate them, the more likely you could get bitten. DO NOT RELY ON THIS ARTICLE to correctly identify a snake that has recently bitten you, as colors and patterns can vary widely. If you have recently been bitten, GO DIRECTLY to the nearest hospital to get help and to determine if the snake is venomous.*
#1. King Cobra
- Ophiophagus hannah
- Adults are 3-3.6 m (10-12 ft) long, but the largest specimens can grow up to 5.4 m (18 ft).
- Their coloring is olive green with black and white bands on the body.
- They have a prominent hood that opens in a defensive stance and a rounded nose.
The King Cobra is the longest venomous snake in Malaysia.
Despite its size, this species is not considered particularly aggressive. It usually avoids humans and slinks off when disturbed. However, it is known to defend incubating eggs aggressively and strikes intruders rapidly. A single attack can deliver multiple bites.
Interestingly, the venom of hatchlings is as potent as the adults’. The babies are brightly marked, but these colors often fade as they mature. In addition, they are often nervous and alert, which makes them highly aggressive if disturbed.
Whether you encounter a juvenile or an adult, giving this dangerous snake a lot of space is recommended. Its bite results in excruciating pain, blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue, and even paralysis. If the bite victim doesn’t receive medical help, they can die from cardiovascular and respiratory failure within 30 minutes of the bite. Stay back!
#2. Common Seasnake
- Enhydrina schistosa
Also known as Beaked Sea Snake, Hook-nosed Sea Snake, Valakadeyan Sea Snake.
- Adults are 91-152 cm (36-60 in) long on average.
- Their pointy snouts hook downwards over the lips and have bigger scales than the rest of the body.
- Coloration is usually gray on top, with faint dark bars across the body. These snakes are whitish or yellowish on the sides and bottom.
The venomous Common Sea Snake loves to hang out in the tropical waters of Malaysia.
This agile swimmer has some impressive skills. It can dive down to a jaw-dropping 100 meters (328 feet) and stay underwater for up to five hours! Like an oar, it uses its tail to navigate the water.
But watch out; the Common Sea Snake’s venom is twice as potent as many land-dwelling snakes. A single bite is enough to take down 50 humans; That’s some serious firepower! So, if you ever encounter one, remember to give it the respect it deserves and keep your distance.
Common Sea Snakes have quite the appetite when it’s time to dine. Their favorite meals include fish, shrimp, and catfish. Sadly, these captivating creatures face threats such as pollution, habitat loss, and getting tangled in fishing nets. They’re even hunted for their meat, skin, organs, and venom (which is used to create antivenoms).
#3. Malayan Krait
- Bungarus candidus
Also known as Blue Krait, Common Krait, and Javan Krait.
- Adults are 108 cm (43 in) long on average.
- They are easily identified by their striped bodies, ranging in color from dark brown to black or blue. There are yellow or white gaps between these stripes; some are speckled.
- They have small, round eyes and large nostrils.
The Malayan Krait is as colorful as it is deadly. In the hilly landscapes and tropical rainforests of Malaysia, this venomous snake knows how to blend in with its surroundings. It makes its homes in forests and plantations, often near water.
The venom of the Malayan Krait is not to be taken lightly. In fact, it earned the nickname “Five-step Snake” because victims can take only five steps after being bitten! Although this is not quite true, venom is very dangerous and has a mortality rate of 60-70% if not immediately treated.
The Malayan Krait is a master of the night, preferring to hunt lizards, frogs, mice, small animals, and even fellow snakes when the sun goes down. Although generally slow-moving, it can quickly escape when faced with danger. Be careful not to provoke this snake, as it will strike aggressively and without warning!
#4. Monocellate Cobra
- Naja kaouthia
Also known as Indian Spitting Cobra, Monocled Cobra.
- Adults measure around 135-150 cm (53-59 in) but can reach up to a whopping 229 cm (90 in).
- Young ones have more consistent colors, but adults can have yellow, brown, gray, or black-colored backs with or without cross bands.
- It displays an O-shaped pattern on the back of its flared hood.
The Monocellate Cobra is a dangerous snake in Malaysia you might encounter in rainforests and agricultural lands, living close to human-populated areas. Be careful! When it feels threatened, it raises its head and flares its hood, revealing the eye-catching monocle marking on the back to warn potential foes.
Monocellate Cobra Range Map
Regarding diet, mammals, birds, frogs, and fellow snakes are on the menu for the Monocellate Cobra. With specialized fangs, it delivers neurotoxic venom that can immobilize both its prey and unlucky humans who get bitten.
Thankfully, the Monocellate Cobra is generally docile and prefers to slither away when confronted. However, it can turn aggressive when cornered, and its bite can cause severe pain, convulsions, respiratory failure, and death if left untreated. Steer clear!
#5. Peron’s Sea Snake
- Hydrophis peronii
Also known as Horned Sea Snake, Spiny-headed Sea Snake.
- This is a medium-sized snake with a slender body. It can grow up to 123 cm (48.4 in) from snout to vent.
- Its back is grayish, pale olive, or tan with narrow dark crossbands.
- It’s the only sea snake that has spines on its head.
Peron’s Sea Snakes reside in the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, staying close to sandy beds, lagoons, and coral reefs. Although it’s a rare species to find, divers in Malaysia have occasionally spotted these venomous snakes skimming the water’s surface.
One cool trait of Peron’s Sea Snake is that it can shut its nostrils underwater and hold its breath for up to eight hours! In fact, these calm and docile creatures frequently fall asleep at the bottom of coral reefs, having no natural enemies in their environment.
Their diet consists of shrimps, gobies, and other small fish. Peron’s Sea Snakes prefer to hunt at night, using their venom to immobilize their prey. Luckily, they have small fangs, meaning they can only deliver small amounts of poison when they bite. Regardless, seek medical treatment if you get bitten!
#6. Asian coral snakes
- The many snakes belonging to this genus greatly vary in length, with the smallest species being 15 cm (6 inches) long and the largest species reaching 180 cm (71 inches) long!
- Asian coral snakes have a wide range of vivid colors, including red, yellow, blue, black, and white.
Snakes belonging to the Calliophis genus bring a sense of awe and wonder to the world of reptiles. This group of venomous snakes is commonly referred to as “Asian coral snakes.” You’ll find them in various regions, from India to Southeast Asia. Their strikingly bright colors and body markings serve as a warning to potential predators, announcing their venomous nature.
Having slender bodies, they easily slither through forests, grasslands, and even common gardens. Asian coral snakes mostly prey on other reptiles, such as lizards and other snake species. Quite the stealthy hunters, they burrow deep in the ground or hide among leaf litter, then quickly sink their fangs into any passing prey.
Asian coral snakes are among nature’s most formidable creatures. Their venom is highly potent and neurotoxic, causing paralysis and necrosis in bite victims. Luckily, they are not typically aggressive toward humans. Instead, they prefer to retreat and hide if given a chance, so remember to keep a respectful distance if you encounter one!
#7. Banded Krait
- Bungarus fasciatus
- Adults are about 0.8 m (2.6 ft) long, but the largest recorded was 2.7 m (9 ft).
- Its body is covered in horizontal yellow and black bands. The underparts of the head are yellow.
- The head is black, with a broad shape, but not distinct from the body. Look for its distinctive keeled spine, which gives its body a triangular shape.
The Banded Krait’s venom contains neurotoxins, and though bites are rare, it’s best to avoid this venomous snake in Malaysia.
Banded Kraits can be seen in diverse habitats, ranging from forests to agricultural lands and open countryside plains. They often live near human settlements, especially villages, because of the large supply of rodents and water.
Due to their love of water, they can most commonly be seen during rainy seasons. They are also nocturnal and usually hunt at night, mainly feeding on other snakes but are also known to eat fish, skinks, frogs, and snake eggs.
If harassed, they will hide their heads under their coils and do not generally attempt to bite. But, since they are more active at night, it can be easy to stumble upon one and wind up in danger.
#8. Golden Tree Snake
- Chrysopelea ornata
- Adults are 115-130 cm (45-51 in) long.
- Their coloring is green, with black cross-hatching and yellow, red, or gold accents.
- They have slender bodies and flat heads with defined necks.
Golden Tree Snakes hunt for bats, lizards, and small rodents during the day. This species is an arboreal snake that lives mostly on tree branches. It has great gliding ability and is an excellent climber, easily moving from tree to tree.
It is mildly venomous and uses its venom to subdue its fast-moving prey. The snake stalks after the prey once it’s delivered a bite and seizes it by the neck, which is crushed in its strong jaws. Because their venom is mild, a bite from this species can be irritating and painful to humans but is not life-threatening.
Golden Tree Snakes have become increasingly available in the exotic pet trade in recent years. Unfortunately, many imported specimens have heavy parasite loads, and the stress of captivity often leads to untimely death. It’s much better to observe this species in the wild since it does poorly in captivity.
#9. Oriental Whipsnake
- Ahaetulla prasina
- Adults grow up to 1.8 m (6 ft) long.
- This species has a slender body with a long, pointed snout.
- Their coloring varies from light brown to dull yellow-green and fluorescent green. Some individuals have a checkered pattern of light and dark green scales.
Oriental Whipsnakes are mildly venomous, but the toxins are not strong enough to hurt humans in Malaysia. If you see one, observe from a respectful distance, but you don’t need to rush away.
The Oriental Whipsnake is one of the most colorful snakes in Malaysia! Its impressive range of colors makes it difficult to recognize because individuals look so different from one another. However, the slender body and incredibly large, spade-shaped head should help with your identification.
This species is arboreal and usually lives in forest edge habitats such as parklands, rural agricultural areas, and wooded residential areas. It’s also a diurnal snake, so the best place to find one is sunbathing or hunting during the day. They eat small nesting birds, lizards, and tree frogs.
#10. Malayan Pit Viper
- Calloselasma rhodostoma
Also known as the Malayan Ground Snake, Malayan Moccasin, and Malayan Ground Pit Viper.
- Adults are 76-91 cm (30-36 in) long.
- Their coloring is reddish, pale brown, or grayish with a thin dark brown vertebral stripe.
- The scales around the mouth are pink or yellowish.
This venomous snake is known in Malaysia for being bad-tempered and quick to strike.
Even though deaths are not common, the bite of the Malayan Pit Viper is excruciating, and the venom can cause tissue death around the bite wound. Many victims are left with dysfunctional or amputated limbs. Seek medical treatment immediately!
Malayan Pit Viper venom is useful for medical purposes despite its dangerous effects on the body. For example, Ancrod, an enzyme in this snake’s venom, can treat blood clots and helps prevent heart attack and stroke.
Do you want to learn about other animals in Malaysia?
If so, check out these guides!
Which of these snakes have you seen before in Malaysia?
Leave a COMMENT below!