Fort Wayne Children's Zoo Home

Red-tailed Green Rat Snake


Quick Facts

Scientific name: Gonyosoma oxycephalum
Class: Reptile
Length: 8.2 feet (2.5 meters)
Life span: 15 years
Incubation: 91 to 112 days
Number of eggs: 3 to 8 eggs
Size at birth: 17.7 inches (45 centimeters)
Age of maturity: 4 years
Conservation status: Red-tailed green rat snakes are least concern.


Red tail or no red tail?

Not all red-tailed green rat snakes have red tails. Sometimes they have magenta or gray tails instead. In these cases, you can still identify these snakes by the dark stripe across their eyes or their blue tongues that flick in and out when they feel threatened.

Tree snake

Because of their green, white, and black body, red-tailed green rat snakes blend in well with trees and caves in lowland jungles and forests. The scales on their stomachs are rough and triangular, which helps them climb trees and rocks. The thin shape of their bodies allows them to move swiftly through branches.


Red-tailed rat snakes don’t usually strike first. They puff up their bodies, mimicking venomous pit vipers that live nearby. They turn sideways to show how big they are to encourage predators to leave. If predators don’t leave, these snakes will bite. They can strike from nearly any position, even if their heads are pointed away from predators.

Protect the snakes

Red-tailed green rat snakes were poached for their shiny skin and their body parts that work well in medicine. Recently, the government of Thailand placed tighter restrictions on the exporting and killing of these snakes. Now, they are valued for controlling the rodent population instead of their skins.


Learn more about our efforts, our conservation partners around the world, and the simple steps you can take to contribute.