Snake ID

Asked September 11, 2013, 4:22 AM EDT

Hi all, i was hoping someone could help identify this snake found in the kabul region of Afghanistan, it is 11 and half inches in length and its body is approx 3/8" inch wide. see pics attached.

Outside United States human-wildlife issues snakes snake identification snakes of afghanistan

3 Responses

Sorry for the delay in answering your question, but reference material on the reptiles of Afghanistan appears to be pretty scarce. I have contacted several zoos, serpentariums and the Smithsonian Institution about your specimen (excellent photographs, by the way), and I'm waiting to hear back from them. Its markings resemble a species here in North Carolina, but I don't know if the genus is even represented in Afghanistan,

As soon as I get a response, I will be back in touch. Stay safe!

Thanks again for using Ask an Expert.


Hello again,

I just heard back from George Zug, Emeritus Research Zoologist - Amphibians and Reptiles at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington.

He believes this is the Cliff Racer or Braid Snake, Platycephalus rhodorachis. It was formerly classified as Coluber rhodorachis. They have a maximum length of slightly over 1 meter and eat mainly rodents, but they will also eat lizards and other snakes.

Dr. Zug said the snake looks very healthy and uninjured and we thank you for that as well as your service to our country.

Stay safe!!


Platyceps rhodorachis sounds good to me. Probably worth mentioning that this snake is harmless to humans.