Your Ultimate Bali Guide
The snakes of Bali Bali has 35 species of snakes, but only six of them are dangerous. Here are the 6 snakes you need to be careful with When you are in Bali, you do not only need to be careful with Bali’s common law, but also with the animals. Balinese believe that it is prohibited to kill animals that live in sacred places, shrines, caves, and forests, because they believe that those animals are sacred and part of the sacred places. You will find monkeys, bats, cows, and even snakes that live freely in some places. But, because they are actually wild animals. It could be dangerous if you unintentionally provoked them, especially for snakes. There are many reported accident involving snakes in Bali, like snake biting and even killing. Bali has 35 species of snakes, but only six of them are dangerous; there are king cobra, spitting cobra, red-tailed green rat snake, Malayan krait, sea snake, and red-necked keelback. All of them are harmful and venomous snakes. You need to know whether you are encountered with a venomous snake or not. Here are the snakes of Bali that are considered as dangerous: King Cobra King Cobra has 3 to 4 meters in length and up to 6 kg in weight. Its skin is smooth with olive-green, black, or tan color, and pale yellow or cream color on its belly. King Cobra is famous with its expandable hood that will spread when it is about to attack. The venom is dangerously fatal and often leads to death. When you accidentally meet this snake, runaway is the best option. Spitting Cobra Some cobras could spray venom from their fangs when they are defending themselves. It could reach as far as 2 meters away, and if the sprayed venom hits the eye, it can cause permanent blindness. Red-tailed Racer (Gonyosoma oxycephalum ) Just like its name, this snake has bright green color with a red or brown tail. Red-tailed racer snake likes to climb trees and across branches as it has powerful and smooth scales on its belly. The tail of this snake is grey in spite of its common name.This snake is commonly found in plantation and hidden really well because of its green color. It bites really fast but luckily it's not venomous. Banded Krait (Bungarus Fasciatus) This snake has a blunt tail, and is uncommon in Bali, possibly being a recent introduction. In contrast the Blue Krait (Bungarus candidus, also called the Malayan Krait) is arguably the most venomous snake in Bali that one is likely to encounter. (LOCAL SNAKE NAMES ARE NOT USEFUL FOR IDENTIFICATION, AND LEAD TO CONFUSION! The Blue krait is not blue, but has a number of colour forms, making identification difficult - black and white bands of equal width, or all black, or light- or dark brown, or with white irregular patches. There is no antivenom here fore this snake, but it is usually out and about very late at night when most people are asleep. It is not found on beaches, but in the ricefields. And please NEVER RUN AWAY FROM SNAKES! They cannot chase you and only want to get away if they can. This snake is often found in Bali's beach. They are venomous, and the venom is still lethal even after the injection of anti-venom. Malayan Krait or blue krait has dark-brown, bluish-black, or black crossbands color and separated by yellowish-white spaces. Needless to say, you must run away when you see this snake. Sea Snake Bali is surrounded by the sea and famously known for its beautiful corals and sea creatures. One of them is sea snakes or coral reef snake. If you decided to go diving or snorkeling, and accidentally encounter a sea snake, do not try to touch them. Even though sea snakes are considered as mild-tempered, but when they get provoked, they will use their venom for defense. Then, it will be fatal. The sea snake pictured here is a so-called Banded sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina). Unlike most other sea snakes, it also comes ashore to hide in rocks and cliffs. It is highly venomous, and once more there is no antivenom here for treatment of a bite of this snake. Island Pit Viper (Trimesurus Insularis) This is the snake that bites most people and potentially causes a lot of tissue damage and even death is not even mentioned here. A common snake from the coasts to about 1000m, the Island Pit Viper (Trimeresurus insularis) is green, has a rather short, fat body, and a characteristic RED TAIL which distinguishes it from other green snakes here. It comes out after dark, and descends from its hiding place in a tree or wall, and sits on the ground where it may be stepped on.  For more information and photos of snakes in Bali, you can visit "Ron Lilley's Bali Snake Patrol". Ron is an expert on snakes and he also give talks to the public and schools, and give snakeproofing advice. If someone sees a snake and they want to know what it is, please send him a photo to his page, and he should be able to identify it for you. Be aware that snakes do come into houses sometimes, especially in the rainy season. If you are unlucky enough to get bitten by any snake, get medical help as soon as possible! Bites are rare, and fatalities from snakebite are rare too, but it is best to seek medical attention quickly to limit the effects. Check with your nearest doctor/clinic and ask if they can treat snakebite, or can recommend another hospital nearby. Sanglah hospital in Denpasar is quite good at treating snakebite, but do call and ask first! Ron's advice is for you to STAY AWARE THAT THERE ARE SNAKES AROUND, AND ALWAYS ILLUMINATE THE PATH AHEAD OF YOU AT NIGHT, YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO BE BITTEN! We would like to thank Ron for his kind contribution in revising this article. You can reach him at his page, Ron Lilley's Bali Snake Patrol or his Whatsapp: (+62) 8013 38496700 if you encounter any snake and would like to know what to do.

The snakes of Bali

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When you are in Bali, you do not only need to be careful with Bali’s common law, but also with the animals. Balinese believe that it is prohibited to kill animals that live in sacred places, shrines, caves, and forests, because they believe that those animals are sacred and part of the sacred places.

You will find monkeys, bats, cows, and even snakes that live freely in some places. But, because they are actually wild animals. It could be dangerous if you unintentionally provoked them, especially for snakes. There are many reported accident involving snakes in Bali, like snake biting and even killing.

Bali has 35 species of snakes, but only six of them are dangerous; there are king cobra, spitting cobra, red-tailed green rat snake, Malayan krait, sea snake, and red-necked keelback. All of them are harmful and venomous snakes. You need to know whether you are encountered with a venomous snake or not. Here are the snakes of Bali that are considered as dangerous:

King Cobra

King Cobra has 3 to 4 meters in length and up to 6 kg in weight. Its skin is smooth with olive-green, black, or tan color, and pale yellow or cream color on its belly. King Cobra is famous with its expandable hood that will spread when it is about to attack. The venom is dangerously fatal and often leads to death. When you accidentally meet this snake, runaway is the best option.

Spitting Cobra

Some cobras could spray venom from their fangs when they are defending themselves. It could reach as far as 2 meters away, and if the sprayed venom hits the eye, it can cause permanent blindness.

Red-tailed Racer (Gonyosoma oxycephalum )

Just like its name, this snake has bright green color with a red or brown tail. Red-tailed racer snake likes to climb trees and across branches as it has powerful and smooth scales on its belly. The tail of this snake is grey in spite of its common name.This snake is commonly found in plantation and hidden really well because of its green color. It bites really fast but luckily it's not venomous.

Banded Krait (Bungarus Fasciatus)

This snake has a blunt tail, and is uncommon in Bali, possibly being a recent introduction. In contrast the Blue Krait (Bungarus candidus, also called the Malayan Krait) is arguably the most venomous snake in Bali that one is likely to encounter. (LOCAL SNAKE NAMES ARE NOT USEFUL FOR IDENTIFICATION, AND LEAD TO CONFUSION! The Blue krait is not blue, but has a number of colour forms, making identification difficult - black and white bands of equal width, or all black, or light- or dark brown, or with white irregular patches. There is no antivenom here fore this snake, but it is usually out and about very late at night when most people are asleep. It is not found on beaches, but in the ricefields. And please NEVER RUN AWAY FROM SNAKES! They cannot chase you and only want to get away if they can. This snake is often found in Bali's beach. They are venomous, and the venom is still lethal even after the injection of anti-venom. Malayan Krait or blue krait has dark-brown, bluish-black, or black crossbands color and separated by yellowish-white spaces. Needless to say, you must run away when you see this snake.

Sea Snake

Bali is surrounded by the sea and famously known for its beautiful corals and sea creatures. One of them is sea snakes or coral reef snake. If you decided to go diving or snorkeling, and accidentally encounter a sea snake, do not try to touch them. Even though sea snakes are considered as mild-tempered, but when they get provoked, they will use their venom for defense. Then, it will be fatal. The sea snake pictured here is a so-called Banded sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina). Unlike most other sea snakes, it also comes ashore to hide in rocks and cliffs. It is highly venomous, and once more there is no antivenom here for treatment of a bite of this snake.

Island Pit Viper (Trimesurus Insularis)

This is the snake that bites most people and potentially causes a lot of tissue damage and even death is not even mentioned here. A common snake from the coasts to about 1000m, the Island Pit Viper (Trimeresurus insularis) is green, has a rather short, fat body, and a characteristic RED TAIL which distinguishes it from other green snakes here. It comes out after dark, and descends from its hiding place in a tree or wall, and sits on the ground where it may be stepped on. 

For more information and photos of snakes in Bali, you can visit "Ron Lilley's Bali Snake Patrol". Ron is an expert on snakes and he also give talks to the public and schools, and give snakeproofing advice. If someone sees a snake and they want to know what it is, please send him a photo to his page, and he should be able to identify it for you. Be aware that snakes do come into houses sometimes, especially in the rainy season. If you are unlucky enough to get bitten by any snake, get medical help as soon as possible! Bites are rare, and fatalities from snakebite are rare too, but it is best to seek medical attention quickly to limit the effects. Check with your nearest doctor/clinic and ask if they can treat snakebite, or can recommend another hospital nearby. Sanglah hospital in Denpasar is quite good at treating snakebite, but do call and ask first!

Ron's advice is for you to STAY AWARE THAT THERE ARE SNAKES AROUND, AND ALWAYS ILLUMINATE THE PATH AHEAD OF YOU AT NIGHT, YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO BE BITTEN!

We would like to thank Ron for his kind contribution in revising this article. You can reach him at his page, Ron Lilley's Bali Snake Patrol or his Whatsapp: (+62) 8013 38496700 if you encounter any snake and would like to know what to do.

There are 12 comments

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By Madison Hill | Jun 25 2017 at 05:58

Hey Ron, I found a green snake with a red tail on our patio one night. I have a photo. How do I send it to you? In Ubud..

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By Vina | Jun 27 2017 at 16:36

You can like Ron Lilley's Bali Snake Patrol page on Facebook or contact his whatsapp on (+62) 0813 3489 6700.

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By Gloria Bergen | Jun 06 2017 at 21:37

I saw a beautiful bright green snake in an S position in a pond located in a field in southern Bali. Never could find out what the name was, and no photo.

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By Ron Lilley | Jun 08 2017 at 11:42

Hi Gloria! There are three fairly common green snakes in Bali. One is venomous, the other two are not. (there are a couple more that can be dark green but I assume you mean lighter green).
The venomous one is the Island pit viper (Trimeresurus insularis). It has a stout, short (usually less than 1m) body, wide triangular head, thin neck and a reddish/brown tail. the scales are quite rough and not glossy. It is active at night, and hides by day in trees, bushes, in walls and under rocks and wood.
The sencond is the Green Whip snake or Vinesnake (Ahaetulla prasina). It is very mildly venomous using its venom to subdue its small prey animals, but is no danger tyo humans or pets. It is very long (up to 2m), has a long pointed head, a long thin body and a long wispy tail. The whole snake is green from head to tail, although there are rarer brown, grey or yellowish variants. It is also a tree snake, active by day.
The third is the red-tailed racer (Gonyosoma oxycephalum) which is not venomous, and actually has a grey end to the tail., not red! It can reach over 2m, and is a robust snake with quite a thick body, but with a long tail. The scales are more glossy than the those of the vinesnake or the viper. I can post photos I took of all 3 types, but don't know how to on this forum. Any ideas? Please let me know if you need further info. Thanks! Ron Lilleys Bali Snake Patrol.

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By Jahmin Lerum | May 12 2017 at 22:24

Thanks Ron Lilliey! Was wondering where the Viper was on the list since it's the one I got bit by in Canggu in 1993!

https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-be-attacked-and-bitten-by-a-venomous-snake/answer/Jahmin-Lerum

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By Ajay Soondur | Dec 31 2016 at 17:50

I had been to Bali and seen all this snakes

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By Ron Lilley | Dec 06 2016 at 20:18

While I think it is well-intentioned, Please be careful when referring to this site. Some of the information is wrong, and needs correcting and updating. The problem is that we are talking about safety here, and wrong information might lead people to kill snakes they identify as venomous, when they are not. more seriously, people might mistake a venomous snake for a non-venomous one, and then try to catch it or handle it. King cobras occur only in west Bali, and are rarely seen. As a previous reviewer commented, the Red-tailed Racer (Gonyosoma oxycephalum ) , wrongly labelled as a Red-tailed Green Ratsnake, is not venomous. The tail of this snake is grey in spite of its common name. The red-necked keelback (Rhabdophis submimiatus), which is venomous has not been recorded for Bali, while its close relative Rhabdophis chrysargos, is not dangerous to humans or pets. The Malayan krait pictured is in fact a Banded Krait, (Bungarus fasciatus) which has a blunt tail, and is uncommon in Bali, possibly being a recent introduction. In contrast the Blue Krait (Bungarus candidus, also called the Malayan Krait) is arguably the most venomous snake in Bali that one is likely to encounter. (LOCAL SNAKE NAMES ARE NOT USEFUL FOR IDENTIFICATION, AND LEAD TO CONFUSION! The Blue krait is not blue, but has a number of colour forms, making identification difficult - black and white bands of equal width, or all black, or light- or dark brown, or with white irregular patches. There is no antivenom here fore this snake, but it is usually out and about very late at night when most people are asleep. It is not found on beaches, but in the ricefields. And please NEVER RUN AWAY FROM SNAKES! They cannot chase you and only want to get away if they can.
The sea snake pictured is a so-called Banded sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina). Unlike most other sea snakes, it also comes ashore to hide in rocks and cliffs. It is highly venomous, and once more there is no antivenom here for treatment of a bite of this snake.
Finally, and strangely, the snake that bites most people and potentially causes a lot of tissue damage and even death is not even mentioned here. A common snake from the coasts to about 1000m, the Island Pit Viper (Trimeresurus insularis) is green, has a rather short, fat body, and a characteristic RED TAIL which distinguishes oit from other green snakes here. It comes out after dark, and descends from its hiding place in a tree or wall, and sits on the ground where it may be stepped on. For more information and photos of snakes in Bali, please visit my Facebook page "Ron Lilleys Bali Snake Patrol". I also give talks to the public and schools, and give snakeproofing advice. If someone sees a snake and they want to know what it is, please send me a photo, and I should be able to identify it for you. Be aware that snakes do come into houses sometimes, especially in the rainy season. If you are unlucky enough to get bitten by any snake, get medical help as soon as possible! Bites are rare, and fatalities from snakebite are rare too, but it is best to seek medical attention quickly to limit the effects. Check with your nearest doctor/clinic and ask if they can treat snakebite, or can recommend another hospital nearby. Sanglah hospital in Denpasar is quite good at treating snakebite, but do call and ask first! Finally, if you STAY AWARE THAT THERE ARE SNAKES AROUND, AND ALWAYS ILLUMINATE THE PATH AHEAD OF YOU AT NIGHT, YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO BE BITTEN!/Many thanks! Ron Lilley

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By Admin | Mar 31 2017 at 00:24

Thanks so much for your feedback! You seem well informed, so if you want to help us improve this article please contact me! (support [at] balipedia.com)

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By Ron Lilley | Jun 08 2017 at 11:48

I tried to respond to this message a while back, but for some reason my message did not go through or was not responded to. Please let me know if you need more info about snakes or other wildlife in Bali.Many thanks! Ron Lilleys Bali snake Patrol page on Facebiook.

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By Jim Goor | Nov 18 2016 at 22:26

I found a Malayan Krait once at the house. I had to hide a in little service room right behind the kitchen and hope for it to leave. I was lucky when I got out it wasn't there anymore. The last thing you'd want to do is freak out and scream or worse, try to catch or hit it. I suppose he was more afraid of me than I was of him so stay quiet and calmly step away was my first reaction.

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By Registrar Artis | Jul 13 2016 at 21:02

The third snake on your list, the red-tailed ratsnake (Gonyosoma oxycephalum), is a non-venomous species... also the last one, the red-necked keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus) has never been found on Bali. It is known to live on several other islands in Indonesia though.

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By Mark | Dec 28 2015 at 13:24

Good to know. Thanks for sharing.

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