What snake is this?

Asked November 15, 2017, 9:56 PM EST

found in my backyard.

I live in the Philippines.

Can anyone identify what snake this is?

Outside United States chrysopelea paradisi flying snake paradise tree snake

1 Response

Thank you for your question. I could not find a similar snake to on the one in your photo in any of my references, so I sent your photo to Dr. Rafe Brown at the University of Kansas. Dr. Brown has extensive experience studying the snake species found in the Philippines.

Dr. Brown says your snake is the Paradise Tree Snake, scientific name (Chrysopelea paradisi). This species is rear-fanged, and its venom is used to paralyze its prey which consists primarily of lizards and bats. Coloration of this species can be variable. Dr. Brown said he has seen snakes with the coloration of your snake in the northern Philippines (Luzon region).

In addition to the Philippines, this species is found in Thailand, Indonesia, the Andaman Islands, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore.

This snake is mostly active during the day, diurnal, and is primarily an arboreal species. There are several species in this genus, and they are best known for their ability to glide from tree to tree. The snake will launch itself from a branch and flatten its body into basically a triangular shape with its ventral or stomach forming the base of the triangle. Once it's airborne, the snake will form a wide S-shape and undulate its body in such a way as to stabilize itself in the air and follow a specific glide path to its destination.

Here are some links that provide additional photographs and information on this species:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysopelea_paradisi

http://ecologyasia.com/verts/snakes/paradise_tree-snake.htm

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/science-paradise-flying-snake-01733.html

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim