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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Golden Tree Snake

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5




Species: Chrysopelea ornata
Maximum Size : 1.4 metres

Chrysopelea ornata (Golden Tree Snake, Golden Flying Snake) is a wide-ranging species known to occur in parts of India, southern China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and northern parts of Peninsular Malaysia. It does not occur in the Philippines (Emerson Sy, pers. comm.)

Two subspecies are recognised, with the SE Asia form being Chrysopelea ornata ornatissima

In Singapore it is now an established, non-native snake that has been found in semi-urban parks and secondary scrubland with scattered trees.

It is diurnal and fully arboreal in habits, and can navigate with ease along slender branches. The examples in Figures 1 to 3 were encountered in coastal forest on a rocky headland in Krabi, southern Thailand, around noon time.

Its diet comprises lizards, bats, rodents, birds and other snakes (Das, 2010).

Its background colour is greenish-yellow, which is patterned with closely-spaced oblique dark bars. This snake may be confused with the Paradise Tree Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi), particularly the dominant yellow/black form of the latter, but it can be distinguished from C. paradisi by the presence of narrow, horizontal black lines on the dorsal scales (see Fig 5).

Figs 1 to 3 : Images of two specimens of the subspecies Chrysopelea ornata ornatissima in coastal forest at Krabi, southern Thailand.

Figs 4 and 5 : Close-ups of an example found in the Neo Tiew (Kranji) area of Singapore where the species has become established as a non-native. Note the horizontal, thin, black line on the dorsal scales; this feature helps to distinguish the species from the Paradise Tree Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi).

References : H1, H3, H5