Whether you love them or hate them, snakes are some of Earth’s most colorful creatures. But if you’re like most people, you’re only familiar with a handful of backyard snakes. Here, we’ll go through some of the most colorful snakes from (almost) everywhere in the world.
List of Colorful Snakes
Here’s our list of the most colorful snakes in the world:
1. Asian Vine Snake
- Latin name: Ahaetulla prasina
- Habitat: Tropical forests, swamps, and lowland jungles in most of southern Asia
- Size: Around 5-6 feet long
- Diet: Mostly tree frogs and lizards
- Colorful feature: These snakes have bright yellow-green bodies. When needed, they can expand their bodies to reveal a checkered pattern of light and dark scales.
These beautiful snakes are common in the wild in southern Asia. But in recent years, they have become popular pets with serious reptile keepers. Their beautiful colors evolved to help them camouflage while hunting. Sometimes, these snakes will even sway along with the trees to be less noticeable to prey.
2. San Francisco Garter Snake
- Latin name: Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia
- Habitat: Ponds near dense vegetation in the area of the San Francisco Peninsula
- Size: Up to about 55 inches long
- Diet: Primarily California red-legged frogs
- Colorful feature: These snakes have a striking pattern of black, red, and blue-green stripes.
These beautifully colored snakes are a subspecies of the common garter snake. They are classified as endangered, and the subspecies continues to be threatened by the loss of habitat. Reptile collectors also sometimes catch wild snakes despite the fact that collecting them is illegal.
3. Sri Lankan Pit Viper
- Latin name: Trimeresurus trigonocephalus
- Habitat: Rainforests, wet grasslands, and sometimes plantations in Sri Lanka
- Size: Males are up to 30 inches long, while females are up to 51 inches long
- Diet: Mostly birds, smaller mammals, lizards, and frogs
- Colorful feature: There is no exact color for this snake, as color will vary somewhat from individual to individual. Most are some shade of green with a black pattern.
These striking snakes have slender bodies and relatively large, triangular heads. But despite their sleek appearance, they are actually fairly sluggish snakes. They like to sunbathe during the day and only occasionally hunt for food.
4. Ball Python
- Latin name: Python regius
- Habitat: Open forested areas, grasslands, and shrublands in western and central Africa
- Size: Up to 72 inches long
- Diet: Mostly smaller mammals and birds
- Colorful feature: Though these snakes are usually brown and black in the wild, selective breeding has resulted in unbelievable morphs. You can find ball pythons who are pied, albino, yellow, and more.
The ball python gets its name from the fact that it tends to curl up into a ball when under stress. Its smaller size compared to most pythons and its easygoing nature have made it one of the most popular pet snakes, if not the most popular pet snake, in the world.
5. Rough-Scaled Bush Viper
- Latin name: Atheris hispida
- Habitat: Primarily forested areas of Central Africa
- Size: Males are up to 29 inches long, while females are up to 23 inches long
- Diet: Small mammals, frogs, lizards, and sometimes birds
- Colorful feature: These snakes are usually some shade of greenish yellow. As you can see in the picture, these snakes are often a combination of colors.
These odd-looking snakes are sometimes called hairy bush vipers, as their spiny scales make them look like they’re covered in hair. They are highly venomous snakes whose bites have the ability to kill a human. However, the exact toxicity varies considerably based on location, the individual snake, and even the weather.
6. Blue Malayan Coral Snake
- Latin name: Calliophis bivirgatus
- Habitat: Forested areas of Southeast Asia
- Size: Up to nearly 6 feet long
- Diet: Primarily other snakes
- Colorful feature: These snakes have beautiful sky-blue underbellies and black upper bodies. They also have bright scarlet heads and tails.
This strikingly beautiful snake is one of the most memorable on the list. But don’t be fooled by its beauty; it’s a highly venomous snake that has sometimes caused death in humans. But interestingly enough, its venom works differently than that of most snakes. It blocks sodium channels and causes near-instant paralysis.
7. White-Lipped Island Pit Viper
- Latin name: Trimeresurus insularis
- Habitat: Dry monsoon forests in Indonesia and East Timor
- Size: Females up to about 2.5 feet, males up to about 2 feet
- Diet: Smaller mammals, frogs, and birds
- Colorful feature: These snakes come in a range of beautiful colors. Some are turquoise, some are bright green, and some are yellow.
This especially gorgeous viper is one of the world’s most beautiful snakes. In particular, the turquoise variant shown in the picture almost doesn’t look real. But even other colors are bright; you can find the white-lipped island pit viper in bright green and yellow, too.
8. Ringneck Snake
- Latin name: Diadophis punctatus
- Habitat: Various types of habitats, as long as there is enough cover available
- Size: Usually around 10-15 inches long
- Diet: Mostly worms, slugs, and salamanders, although they will sometimes eat larger animals
- Colorful feature: These snakes have very bright bellies that range from orange to yellow to red. The color contrasts sharply with the snake’s dark upper body.
The ringneck snake might be colorful, but it isn’t venomous. It does have an interesting way of showing off its colors; when threatened, it will flip upwards and show its bright belly. There are a few different subspecies of this snake, and each one has a slightly different coloration.
9. Sunbeam Snake
- Latin name: Xenopeltis unicolor
- Habitat: Open areas in Southeast Asia and parts of Indonesia
- Size: Around 3 feet long
- Diet: Usually frogs, reptiles, and small mammals
- Colorful feature: These snakes have extraordinarily iridescent scales that shine almost every color in the rainbow. Each scale has a layer of dark pigment underneath it, enhancing the shine.
There are a few different species of sunbeam snake, but all got the name from their startlingly iridescent scales. These snakes are non-venomous and kill their prey through constriction. They generally try to stay away from humans, but they will sometimes rattle the ends of their tails like rattlesnakes if they feel threatened.
10. Green Tree Python
- Latin name: Morelia viridis
- Habitat: Rainforests of New Guinea, Indonesia, and Australia’s Cape York Peninsula
- Size: Up to 6.6 feet long
- Diet: Mostly smaller mammals, but sometimes small reptiles as well
- Colorful feature: These snakes are a vibrant, bright green color. They often have sparse spots that are white or yellow
These beautiful, large snakes are popular among reptile enthusiasts for their impressive size and bright colors. In the wild, they are still rated as a species of least concern. However, thanks to frequent smuggling for the pet trade, the wild population is declining fairly rapidly.
11. Red Milk Snake
- Latin name: Lampropeltis triangulum syspila
- Habitat: Often pine or hardwood forests in the central United States
- Size: Usually about 2-3 feet long
- Diet: Usually small reptiles and rodents
- Colorful feature: These snakes usually have a base color of bright red. They are banded with yellowish-beige “saddles” outlined in black. The exact patterning varies somewhat depending on the exact location.
Many of the bright snakes on the list are from rainforests and other tropical areas known for their colorful wildlife. But the red milk snake is an especially bright resident of the central United States. Though it looks a little like the venomous coral snake, the harmless red milk snake has red patches next to black. The coral snake has red patches next to yellow.
12. Gold-Ringed Cat Snake
- Latin name: Boiga dendrophillia
- Habitat: Typically lowland rainforests of Southeast Asia
- Size: On average, 6-8 feet long
- Diet: Small mammals, birds, and reptiles
- Colorful feature: This beautiful snake’s bumblebee-like colors definitely draw the eye; its body is primarily black, but it is ringed with bright yellow bands.
Though it isn’t common in captivity, the gold-ringed cat snake (also called the mangrove snake) is sometimes kept by experienced reptile keepers. It’s a venomous snake, but its venom isn’t thought to be strong enough to kill a person. This snake isn’t an ideal animal to get if you want a handleable snake, as it’s somewhat skittish and tends to strike when frightened.
13. Black-Banded Sea Krait
- Latin name: Laticauda semifasciata
- Habitat: Mostly coral reefs around the western Pacific Ocean
- Size: Up to 67 inches long
- Diet: Mostly fish
- Colorful feature: While these snakes all have dark bands, they vary considerably when it comes to color. As you can see in the photo, some of them have alternating bands of bright blue.
These snakes behave more like fish; they hide in coral reefs and wait for prey. But unlike fish, they breathe air and need to surface once every several hours in order to breathe in again. Though they don’t usually attack humans, their venom is 10 times the strength of cobra venom!
14. Reticulated Python
- Latin name: Malayopython reticulatus
- Habitat: Mostly rainforests and woodlands in South Asia and Southeast Asia
- Size: Up to over 20 feet long
- Diet: Mostly birds and some mammals, although larger snakes can eat deer, pigs, and primates
- Colorful feature: Wild reticulated pythons are often some combination of black and brown. But thanks to their popularity among reptile hobbyists, these snakes have been bred in a number of bright and interesting color patterns, including the bright yellow morph shown in the picture.
Reticulated pythons are one of the very few snakes large enough to eat humans. Though documented cases of these snakes killing humans are rare, they do happen occasionally. They are constrictors who squeeze prey animals to death before eating them. Reticulated pythons are also very versatile animals; while they primarily live in rainforests, they have been seen swimming far out at sea as well.
15. Western Bush Viper
- Latin name: Atheris chlorechis
- Habitat: Forests in Africa
- Size: About 20 inches long, but they can grow up to 28 inches
- Diet: Mostly rodents, frogs, and lizards
- Colorful feature: Most of these snakes are green with a handful of yellow spots. However, they occur in some other colors, and newborn snakes are usually a yellowish-tan color.
Like most viper species, the western bush viper looks both prehistoric and sleek at the same time. It has rough scales and large, intense eyes. As is the case with other vipers in the genus, this one has a venomous bite that can be fatal.
16. Kenyan Sand Boa
- Latin name: Gongylophis colubrinus
- Habitat: Scrubby, desert, or rocky areas in eastern and northern Africa
- Size: Up to about 3 feet long
- Diet: Mostly small mammals
- Colorful feature: In the wild, these snakes are usually orange or yellow. The back is crossed with dark brown splotches. However, breeders in captivity have created many different morphs, including albino, striped, and bright red.
The Kenyan sand boa might not have the most easily recognizable name. However, it has recently become a somewhat popular pet for hobbyists. Unlike some captive snakes, sand boas aren’t aggressive, and they tend to be easy to handle. They are also much smaller than many snakes in the pet trade.
17. Black-Necked Garter Snake
- Latin name: Thamnophis cyrtopsis
- Habitat: Many different habitat types (as long as they are close to water) in the southwestern part of the United States, Guatemala, and Mexico
- Size: Less than 20 inches long or up to 42 inches (depending on exact subspecies)
- Diet: Fish, amphibians, worms, other snakes, and other smaller animals found in rivers
- Colorful feature: These snakes are a distinctive blackish-olive color. Their sides are patterned with lighter spots that are often pale yellow or whitish blue. They have a bright orange line running along the back.
You might imagine that garter snakes are somewhat boring creatures. But this one has a unique and eye-catching pattern. It’s somewhat unusual in that it hunts in water.
18. Speckled Racer
- Latin name: Drymobius margaritiferus margaritiferus
- Habitat: Many habitat types (especially those that are humid or close to water) in Central America and the southern part of Texas
- Size: Usually up to about 40 inches long
- Diet: Mostly frogs, although they do eat lizards, eggs, and small mammals.
- Colorful feature: These snakes usually have a black base color with scales that are speckled in blue and yellow. When viewed from afar, the alternating scales make the snake look greenish.
The speckled racer, though it is common in its range, is a truly magnificent snake. Its species name, margaritiferus, means “pearl-bearing.” That’s because the small, pale blue and yellow spots look a lot like pearls.
19. Beddome’s Black Shieldtail
- Latin name: Melanophidium punctatum
- Habitat: All along the Western Ghats mountains in India
- Size: Too few individuals have been studied to report an average size
- Diet: Mostly smaller animals
- Colorful feature: These snakes are strikingly iridescent. Their base color is black, but they also have a bright yellow stripe that adds a pop of serious color.
Compared to other snakes on the list, this one is a mystery. It remains elusive, and only a few wild specimens have been caught. Still, it is shockingly beautiful, and its iridescence is even greater than that of most sunbeam snakes.
20. Colombian Boa
- Latin name: Boa constrictor imperator
- Habitat: Usually rainforests (although sometimes deserts) in Mexico, Central America, and parts of Colombia
- Size: Usually from about 4 feet to about 8 feet long
- Diet: Lizards, frogs, birds, and rodents
- Colorful feature: Wild Colombian boas tend to have a patchwork pattern of different shades of pale brown. But since they are popular in captivity, they have been bred in a range of color morphs, including the hypomelanistic (hypo) jungle morph shown in the picture.
Though it’s a large snake, the Colombian boa is a popular snake for many reptile keepers. Notably, within the pet trade, the Colombian boa is often misidentified. Pet stores tend to refer to it as a Colombian red-tailed boa. Interestingly enough, the snake’s disposition in captivity varies based on where the snake is from. Snakes from South America are more likely to be friendly and docile, while snakes from Central America are more likely to strike at their owners if startled or otherwise disturbed.
21. Hagen’s Pit Viper
- Latin name: Trimeresurus hageni
- Habitat: Mostly lowland forests in Southeast Asia
- Size: Up to about 3.5 feet
- Diet: Birds and smaller mammals
- Colorful feature: These snakes are bright green in color, although the exact shade tends to vary depending on the individual. Many of them have a few pale yellow or whitish spots, and rarely, you may see one with darker bands.
This lovely viper species was named for Dr. Bernhard Hagen, a German naturalist who studied several different species in Sumatra. Like most vipers, it has a large and somewhat flattened head, but this one seems to have a proportionally larger head than most species. While it might not be as well known as some other viper species, the Hagen’s pit viper is not currently threatened or experiencing low population numbers.
- Latin name: Dispholidus typus
- Habitat: Tree-rich areas in sub-Saharan Africa
- Size: About 3-5 feet in length
- Diet: Mostly frogs, tree-dwelling lizards, smaller mammals, birds, and bird eggs
- Colorful feature: Color varies a good bit from individual to individual; most males are light green with scales outlined in black or dark blue. Females are likely to be more brownish in color.
This snake’s odd yet catchy name is a combination of the words “tree” and “snake” in Afrikaans and Dutch. It’s an especially dangerous snake, as its venom is highly toxic and has caused human deaths. The exact venom potency varies by snake, and in many cases, victims don’t start experiencing symptoms until hours after being bitten.
23. Broad-Banded Temple Pit Viper
- Latin name: Tropidolaemus laticinctus
- Habitat: Humid lowland and hilly forests on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia
- Size: Usually around 3 feet long
- Diet: Smaller animals, especially those living in trees
- Colorful feature: These snakes have a unique and striking pattern; the bright green body is mottled with deep purplish-brown spots. The spots have fine white outlines.
These stunningly beautiful snakes differ from many of their relatives in terms of coloring; their colors are not sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females look the same. It was once considered to be a color variation of the Wagler’s pit viper (a different species), but it recently was declared to be its own species.
24. Northern Redbelly Snake
- Latin name: Storeria occipitomaculata
- Habitat: Moist woodlands and similar areas in parts of North America and the Caribbean
- Size: Usually about 8-12 inches long
- Diet: Mostly slugs and earthworms
- Colorful feature: Though their upper bodies are a dark, dull brown, their undersides are a vibrant red. Because of it, they are often called fire snakes.
These distinctive little snakes seem to prefer wet woodlands, but their small size and versatility mean that they can end up calling many different places home. They are often comfortable living in gardens and flowerbeds, provided they are moist enough.
25. Rainbow Boa
- Latin name: Epicrates cenchria
- Habitat: Usually rainforests and humid woodlands in Central America and South America, although it can sometimes be found in savannas
- Size: Usually 4-6 feet long
- Diet: Rodents, birds, and other warm-blooded vertebrates
- Colorful feature: These snakes usually have an intricate pattern of black markings on a medium-brown body. But the structure of their scales gives them a beautifully iridescent sheen.
This snake’s beautiful, sparkling scales have made it fairly popular in the pet trade. However, it probably isn’t the best for beginners, as it needs a very specific heat and humidity balance to thrive. It tends to be a fairly docile snake, although younger ones may bite until they get more comfortable with their owners.
26. Red-Tailed Green Ratsnake
- Latin name: Gonyosoma oxycephalum
- Habitat: Forested areas of Southeast Asia
- Size: Females can grow up to 8 feet long, while males are a bit smaller
- Diet: Birds, bats, lizards, and eggs
- Colorful feature: These very bright snakes are an energetic green in color. As the name suggests, they have red tails, but their tails are often actually brown.
This striking snake almost never comes down from the trees. Throughout the day and night, it’s either hunting from tree branches or curled up in tree cavities. If you’re an experienced reptile keeper who’s up for a challenge, you might pursue purchasing one. These snakes can be temperamental and even somewhat aggressive in captivity, but in some cases, they calm down with patience and time.
27. Sumatran Pit Viper
- Latin name: Trimeresurus sumatranus
- Habitat: Forested areas in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand
- Size: Up to about 5 feet long
- Diet: Frogs, small mammals, and small birds
- Colorful feature: Color varies slightly between individuals, but Sumatran pit vipers are usually lime green in color. Their bellies may be on the yellow side, and their scales are sometimes edged in black.
The Sumatran pit viper is yet another elegant viper species. Don’t let its beauty fool you, though. Because it has very large fangs and is a large snake in general, it can deliver a powerful bite that also delivers a good bit of venom. It’s a very dangerous snake and not a good one to keep in captivity.
28. Carpet Python
- Latin name: Morelia spilota
- Habitat: Australia, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and parts of the Solomon Islands
- Size: From about 6 feet to 13 feet
- Diet: Mostly small mammals, birds, and lizards
- Colorful feature: The carpet python varies considerably when it comes to coloring. It’s mostly olive or dark brown, but some individuals have gold or otherwise bright bans.
Despite its size, the carpet python is actually very popular as a pet. It’s generally gentle, although it’s a good idea to be careful when feeding. Because the snake is so big, it can sometimes look like it’s being aggressive when it’s really just trying to eat food that is offered.
29. Bornean Pit Viper
- Latin name: Trimeresurus borneensis
- Habitat: Forested areas in Borneo
- Size: Around 3 feet long
- Diet: Smaller rodents and birds
- Colorful feature: The brightest of the Bornean pit vipers have yellow or green bodies with darker marking. However, some are a more dull, brownish color.
Some of the most beautiful snakes in the world are native to very small areas, and the Bornean pit viper is one of them. You can find this snake only on the small island of Borneo and on the nearby Natuna Islands. Not all of these vipers are equally colorful, though; some are a nondescript brown.
30. Painted Bronzeback
- Latin name: Dendrelaphis pictus
- Habitat: Mainly forest edges in India and Southeast Asia
- Size: Up to about 4 feet long
- Diet: Mostly frogs and lizards
- Colorful feature: True to its name, this snake has a metallic bronze stripe going from the head down the body. The rest of the upper body is black, while the belly is off-white. But when eating or when threatened, the painted bronzeback can puff up slightly, exposing glimmering turquoise skin beneath the black scales.
This athletic-looking snake has a highly streamlined body, and the shiny bronze coloring down its back makes it look more like a piece of art than an actual snake. If you’re fortunate enough to see it reveal its bluish skin, too, you’ll see why it’s among the most colorful snakes in the world.
31. Blue Bronzeback
- Latin name: Dendrelaphis cyanochloris
- Habitat: Mostly lowland rainforests in Southeast Asia
- Size: Up to about 5 feet long
- Diet: Frogs and lizards
- Colorful feature: This snake has the same bronze top stripe as the painted bronzeback. However, its belly is bright yellow or sometimes bright green. Like the painted bronzeback, it has the ability to display blue interstitial skin when frightened, but the blue is much more pronounced. It also has a tongue that is very bright red.
This snake is another example of an especially beautiful bronzeback. It has a tapered head and very large eyes. A black stripe moves from the tip of the nose to the neck, and even the snake’s iris has a patch of black to continue the stripe.
32. Banded Krait
- Latin name: Bungarus fasciatus
- Habitat: A variety of habitat types (especially forests and farmland) in Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent
- Size: Up to more than 8 feet long
- Diet: Mostly other snakes, but it also will eat skinks, frogs, and fish
- Colorful feature: As the name suggests, these large snakes have alternating bands of black and golden yellow. The scales are large and glossy, making it almost look like the snake is covered in small ceramic tiles.
The banded krait is one of the brightest large snakes on the list. Though it may look fearsome, it’s generally fairly lethargic, and it will usually hide its head under its coils when scared. It is venomous, but its bite is very rarely lethal. Experts believe that, when it bites in a defensive manner, the banded krait has the ability to release less venom.
33. Bornean Keeled Pit Viper
- Latin name: Tropidolaemus subannulatus
- Habitat: Forested areas of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia
- Size: Males up to 1.5 feet, females up to about 3 feet
- Diet: Birds and tree-dwelling rodents
- Colorful feature: Males and females have different coloring, though both are very vibrantly colored. Males are bright green with bars of white and blue. Females look like they have cream-colored scales bordered with green, and they also have deep greenish-blue bands.
The Bornean keeled pit viper is among the most beautiful vipers. Its scales are highly keeled (meaning they have noticeable ridges in the middle), making the angular head look especially geometric. As is the case with other pit vipers, this one has small heat-sensing pits on its head.
34. Green Keelback Snake
- Latin name: Rhabdophis nigrocinctus
- Habitat: Many habitat types close to water in Southeast Asia and Thailand
- Size: Up to about 3 feet long
- Diet: Toads, frogs, and fish
- Colorful feature: These snakes have rose-colored heads and necks that fade into bright green bodies. The green usually fades to a deep brown color as you move toward the tail.
These slender, pretty snakes are good to look out for if you’re ever in Thailand. They have enormous round eyes that make them look perpetually surprised, and they very rarely bite people. They are venomous, although there are no known cases of their bites causing significant medical complications. Other members of the genus have delivered deadly bites, so it’s a good idea to treat these snakes as if they are deadly.
35. Rhinoceros Snake
- Latin name: Gonyosoma boulengeri
- Habitat: Forested areas of northern Vietnam and southern China
- Size: Up to 63 inches long
- Diet: Mostly birds, mice, and other rodents
- Colorful feature: This snake is a bright, glossy green, with a paler underside. Sometimes, the paler belly has a yellowish or bluish cast.
As you probably guessed, the rhinoceros snake is named for the scaly “horn” on its nose. Though the horn is interesting to look at (and makes identifying the snake easy), herpetologists don’t know exactly what purpose it serves.
36. Indian Cobra
- Latin name: Naja naja
- Habitat: Almost any habitat type (except for true deserts) throughout the Indian subcontinent
- Size: Usually around 5 feet long
- Diet: Usually birds, lizards, fish, and rodents
- Colorful feature: Indian cobras vary tremendously when it comes to color. They can be red, black, tan, yellow, gray, or brown, although most individuals have some degree of color patterning. Many of them have a pattern on the back of the hood that looks like a pair of spectacles.
If you’ve ever seen a snake charmer at work, chances are good that the charmer was working with an Indian cobra. This species, also called the Asian cobra, the spectacled cobra, or the binocellate cobra, features prominently in Indian mythology. Despite its place in Indian history and culture, it is one of the top four snake species in India when it comes to biting humans.
37. Eyelash Viper
- Latin name: Bothriechis schlegelii
- Habitat: Forested areas in Central and South America
- Size: Up to 32 inches long
- Diet: Frogs, lizards, small birds, and small rodents
- Colorful feature: These beautiful but deadly snakes come in a range of exciting colors; you can find them in yellow, pink, red, green, and brown. They also commonly have color patterns that are a mixture of these.
The eyelash viper gets its name from its unusual, eyelash-like scales above the eyes. Though they certainly add visual interest, these scales also may prove to be an evolutionary advantage; some experts believe that these scales help to break up the snake’s shape as it hides and waits for prey.
38. Scarlet Snake
- Latin name: Cemophora coccinea
- Habitat: Primarily open forests in the southeastern United States
- Size: Up to 26 inches long
- Diet: Other snakes, lizards, small rodents, and eggs
- Colorful feature: Depending on exact location, the exact patterns on scarlet snakes can vary. They usually have a beige base color that is covered with black-outlined red splotches.
These small, pretty snakes are somewhat rarely seen. They are nocturnal, but they also are only active during the summer months. They are primarily found in and near the southeastern part of the U.S., but there are isolated populations in both New Jersey and Missouri.
39. Blue Racer
- Latin name: Coluber constrictor foxii
- Habitat: Semi-open areas in Ontario and in parts of the north-central United States
- Size: Up to about 6 feet long
- Diet: Mostly rodents, songbirds, and other snakes
- Colorful feature: Many blue racer snakes have bright blue scales on their sides. These pair beautifully with their deep gray or brown upper bodies and cream-white bellies. However, some individuals have side scales that are a dull gray.
Though these beautiful snakes are fairly adaptable in terms of habitat, they do have their limits. They seem to need to stay far away from humans; experts have observed that when new areas are developed, these snakes are often the very first to leave.
40. Sinaloan Milk Snake
- Latin name: Lampropeltis triangulum sinaloae
- Habitat: Rocky, dry areas of parts of Mexico
- Size: Up to almost 4 feet long
- Diet: Many different animal types, although they primarily eat rodents
- Colorful feature: These colorful snakes have a bright scarlet red base color. It’s broken up by patterns of yellow-beige that are bordered by black.
You might wonder how a snake as bright as this one (or any of the other milk snake species) could come to be called a “milk snake.” The name comes from an old folktale warning people that these snakes would come into barns at night and drink all of the milk from their cattle. Of course, the folktale isn’t true, but the name “milk snake” has remained.
41. Golden Tree Snake
- Latin name: Chrysopelea ornata
- Habitat: Forested areas of South Asia and Southeast Asia
- Size: Up to about 4 feet long
- Diet: Mostly bats, lizards, and smaller rodents
- Colorful feature: Most of these snakes have greenish-yellow coloring with almost every scale outlined in black. Those that are more on the yellow side have a golden appearance. However, there is also a red-spotted form.
This snake is sometimes called the golden flying snake. While it can’t actually fly, it can glide much like a flying squirrel does. This ability comes in very handy when the snake hunts for prey, as it can effortlessly move from tree to tree. Its gliding ability in combination with its stunning coloring makes it a great choice for reptile keepers who want an exciting pet.
42. Long-Nosed Snake
- Latin name: Rhinocheilus lecontei
- Habitat: Dry grassland areas in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States
- Size: About 30 inches long on average
- Diet: Mostly lizards and amphibians, although they will sometimes eat smaller snakes
- Colorful feature: At first glance, the long-nosed snake looks like it might be carved from wood and painted. It has a creamy base color with bands of black and red. But unlike most snakes with that color scheme, this one has the cream scales interspersed throughout the pattern.
These snakes don’t tend to be aggressive to humans, they’re relatively small, and their coloration is beautiful. But despite these features, it isn’t commonly seen in the pet trade. That’s because it often will not accept the mostly-rodent diet that most captive snakes are fed.
43. Amazon Tree Boa
- Latin name: Corallus hortulanus
- Habitat: Forested areas of South America
- Size: Usually between 5-6.5 feet
- Diet: Mostly rodents
- Colorful feature: These snakes usually come in two color phases. One is a drab, brownish coloration. The other is much more exciting, and it typically involves snakes with bright coloring like red, orange, or yellow. There is a huge amount of color difference among individuals, so it’s very rare to see two snakes that look exactly alike.
Amazon tree boas are magnificent snakes, but they probably aren’t the right choice for reptile keepers who want an affectionate pet. These snakes tend to be very aggressive. They also have long, very sharp teeth that can cause painful bites. In some cases, Amazon tree boas may even mistake a keeper’s warm hand for prey and strike at it.
44. Sumatran Short-Tailed Python
- Latin name: Python curtus
- Habitat: Rainforests and other moist areas in Sumatra and nearby
- Size: Up to almost 6 feet long
- Diet: Mostly birds and mammals
- Colorful feature: Most of these pythons have a similar pattern that just appears in different colors. The base color is usually tan or brownish gray. It is covered in blotches that range from true red to brick red.
The Sumatran short-tailed python’s beautiful pattern has been noticed by the leather industry, and these snakes are sometimes trapped and sold for leather. However, they are sometimes kept as pets despite the fact that they are large, fairly unpredictable, and generally aggressive.
45. Eastern Coral Snake
- Latin name: Micrurus fulvius
- Habitat: Usually in relatively dry, scrubby areas of the southeastern United States
- Size: Usually less than 31 inches long
- Diet: Frogs, lizards, and smaller snakes
- Colorful feature: These banded snakes feature alternating, large bands of black and red. There is a thinner, bright yellow band between each one.
Coral snakes are certainly beautiful, but they are highly venomous as well. If you grew up in an area where they were common, you might have been taught a rhyme that ended with “red next to yellow, kill a fellow” or something similar. The rhyme highlights the main feature that sets the coral snake apart from the harmless scarlet king snake or scarlet snake; the non-venomous snakes have red patches next to black patches.
46. Corn Snake
- Latin name: Pantherophis guttatus
- Habitat: Usually open, overgrown areas in the southeastern United States
- Size: Usually from 2-6 feet long
- Diet: Primarily small rodents
- Colorful feature: Corn snakes have been selectively bred to develop some truly amazing color morphs. These include fluorescent colors, striped morphs, and even an “opal” type that is white with hints of pink or blue.
These gentle snakes make excellent pets. In fact, they are the second most popular pet snakes in the world, second only to the famous ball python. The origin of their name dates back to the 1600s. They would be spotted near stores that sold grain or corn, watching for the mice that came to eat it.
47. Emerald Tree Boa
- Latin name: Corallus caninus
- Habitat: Rainforests in South America
- Size: Typically up to 6 feet long
- Diet: Mostly small mammals, but they do sometimes eat birds, lizards, and frogs
- Colorful feature: The emerald tree boa has strikingly beautiful coloring; most individuals are a deep emerald green with a bright yellow belly. The back is marked with whitish stripes that resemble lightning bolts.
This striking snake can be seen in rainforests of South America curled peacefully in the branches of trees. And thanks to its very slow metabolism, it very rarely has to forage for food. In many cases, these snakes only need to eat every few months or so. Like some other species of tropical snakes, this one gives birth to live young as opposed to laying eggs.
48. Boelen’s Python
- Latin name: Simalia boeleni
- Habitat: Mountainous areas of New Guinea
- Size: Up to 10 feet long
- Diet: Small mammals, lizards, and birds that nest on the ground
- Colorful feature: These snakes have distinctive and beautiful coloration. Their bodies are cream-colored and appear to be draped with black, saddle-like patches. These patches have a noticeable iridescent glow much like what you’d see on a sunbeam snake.
Boelen’s python, also called the black python, is extremely secretive and hard to find in the wild. In fact, it’s so difficult to find that there is not enough data available to determine whether it is threatened as a species or not. It’s extremely rare in collections, too; it’s sought after for its beauty, but snakes caught in the wild are hard to keep. It’s much easier to raise a captive-bred snake, but it’s extremely difficult to get these animals to breed in captivity.
49. Paradise Tree Snake
- Latin name: Chrysopelea paradisi
- Habitat: Forested areas of southeastern Asia
- Size: Up to almost 4 feet long
- Diet: Mostly bats and lizards
- Colorful feature: These snakes have a black base color that appears to be covered in rounded spots. The spots vary in color, but they are often green, yellow, red, or a combination.
This snake, also called the paradise flying snake, is one of the most impressive gliding snakes in its genus. It’s able to flatten its body into a ribbon-like shape and launch itself into the air. It undulates its body while keeping its head fairly still. When gliding, it can travel for 30 feet or more before landing!
50. Side-Striped Palm Viper
- Latin name: Bothriechis lateralis
- Habitat: Mountain forests of Costa Rica and Panama
- Size: Often 30 inches or more
- Diet: Rodents, birds, lizards, and frogs
- Colorful feature: These snakes are usually a bright spring green with a yellow stripe down the side. They also usually have some yellow barring on the body.
Like most arboreal snakes, the side-striped palm viper usually camouflages as it waits for prey to come within striking range. Its patterning looks a lot like the sun filtering through a forest canopy, so camouflage is relatively easy. Interestingly enough, many of these snakes, and especially those in captivity, tend to become blue over time.
51. Scarlet Kingsnake
- Latin name: Lampropeltis elapsoides
- Habitat: Almost any habitat type in the eastern and southeastern United States
- Size: Usually between 16 and 20 inches
- Diet: Small lizards and snakes
- Colorful feature: These snakes have a base color of deep, vibrant red. They are marked with yellowish bands with thick black outlines.
The scarlet kingsnake looks a lot like a coral snake, but it has no venom. Though it’s a beautiful sight, it can be difficult to find; it’s primarily nocturnal. However, it does sometimes show up in backyard pools.
52. Woma Python
- Latin name: Aspidites ramsayi
- Habitat: Usually sandy areas in central and western Australia
- Size: About 4.5 feet long
- Diet: Primarily reptiles, although it will eat rodents
- Colorful feature: These snakes come in a range of colors. Usually, the base color is light with darker brindling. You can find woma pythons with pink, orange, red, olive, or caramel-colored bodies.
This beautiful python, while it may be a bit difficult to find, is probably one of the best pythons to keep as a pet. It’s extremely hardy and will eat very enthusiastically. Plus, it’s a quiet snake that even seems to enjoy being handled.
53. Variable Bush Viper
- Latin name: Atheris squamigera
- Habitat: Primarily rainforests in western and central Africa
- Size: Usually about 18-24 inches long
- Diet: Mostly small mammals
- Colorful feature: Most of these snakes are some shade of green ranging from light green to olive. However, some individuals are yellow, orange, or a similar bright color.
All vipers are venomous, but some are more venomous than others. The variable bush viper’s venom has caused at least two documented deaths. And while antivenom treatments have been developed for many types of snakes, there is no specific treatment for a bite from a variable bush viper. However, some antivenoms made for other types of snakes can be partially effective.
- Latin name: Siphlophis cervinus
- Habitat: Rainforests in South America and Trinidad and Tobago
- Size: Around three feet long
- Diet: Mostly smaller animals
- Colorful feature: These snakes have distinctive, intricate patterning that makes them look almost beaded. They have a black base color with checker-like markings of red and yellow.
The checkerbelly is a rare snake sometimes found in the Amazon. If you happen to see or photograph one, you’re very fortunate; sightings are few and far in between!
Nature’s Most Colorful Snakes
Now that you’re familiar with some of the most beautiful snakes in the world, we hope you’ve gained a new appreciation for them. Whether they’re simple backyard garter snakes or exotic pit vipers, colorful snakes bring a burst of joy to the world that few animals can.