Red-tailed Green Rat Snake

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Species group:

Other common names: Red-tailed Ratsnake; Red-tailed Green Climbing Ratsnake, Arboreal Ratsnake, Red-tailed Racer

Scientific name: Gonyosoma oxycephalum

The basics:
The strikingly-marked Red-tailed Green Ratsnake was one of the first Asian Ratsnakes to become well-established in the US pet trade, and remains a popular everywhere. Although not recommended for beginners, with proper care it makes a great “hands-off” display animal, and often breeds readily.

Red-tailed Ratsnakes are found throughout much of South and Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

This highly arboreal species is often being found 40 feet or more above the ground. Red-tailed Ratsnakes inhabits mangrove swamps, rain and bamboo forests, farms, village outskirts and parks, and may take up residence in thatched-roofed dwellings.

Appearance / health:
These slender but robust snakes are generally pale to emerald green in color, with a red or pinkish tail. A yellow band separates the green and red-colored areas. Gray and silver individuals occur in Java, and yellow specimens are known from Thailand and the Philippines. Orange and yellow/black speckled strains are selectively-bred in the pet trade. Red-tailed Ratsnakes average 152 cm (5 ft) in length, with exceptional individuals topping 215 cm (7 ft). Females are longer and stouter than males.

Pets have lived in excess of 15 years, but they are susceptible to stress-related ailments when kept in small enclosures or if unduly disturbed.

Behavior / temperament:
Not always readily available in the pet trade, the Red-tailed Green Ratsnake is known to be temperamental and unpredictable. They are sought after because of their attractive coloration and because they are hardy and easy to care for. Properly handled in captivity, they can live up to about 15 years.

Red-tailed Green Ratsnakes are best kept alone or in pairs during the mating season. The enclosure must be a medium to large woodland or tropical rainforest type with sufficient sturdy branches for climbing. Hiding places should also be provided. A small water dish should be available for drinking, although some snakes will prefer to drink drops of water from leaves. Live plants and regular misting help keep the humidity high. Day temp: 77-86F; night temp: 73-80F; humidity: 70-90%

The best enclosure for Red-tailed Green Ratsnakes mimics the tropical rainforest of Southeast Asia. Vegetation is recommended, and high humidity is essential.

Red-tailed Ratsnakes prey upon squirrels and other rodents, birds, and bats. Pets fare well on a diet comprised of mice and small rats. Some individuals refuse all but chicks for a time, but most can be habituated to bird-scented rodents.

Red-tailed ratsnakes may breed year-round, with well-fed females producing up to 4 clutches of 5-8 eggs annually. The young hatch in 100-140 days at an incubation temperature of 84-88 F.


color morphs, beautiful robust snake, green body


parasites, ultra defensive, pet trade, temperamental personalities

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