Arboreal ratsnake, Red-tailed racer, Red-tailed racer
Gonyosoma oxycephalum, known commonly as the arboreal ratsnake, the red-tailed green ratsnake, and the red-tailed racer, is a species of snake in the family Colubridae. The species is endemic to Southeast Asia.Show More
It was first described by Friedrich Boie in 1827.Show Less
The Red-tailed green ratsnake is a non-venomous robust powerful snake, with wide smooth scales on its belly that are ideal for climbing trees and across branches. It has smaller, smooth scales on its back, which are usually bright green or light green and may have a black net-like pattern. As some of its common names indicate, this snake has a green body with a red tail but is usually brown. It also has a dark line horizontally across the eye. On the sides of its black tongue, there may be a brown and blue color. The top of the head may be dark green, yellow-green, or yellow in color. There is also a gray-colored morph with a yellow head that exists in Panay, in the Philippines.
Red-tailed green ratsnakes are found in Southeast Asia. They inhabit tropical moist forests, bamboo forests, mangrove forests, shrubland, plantations, and rural gardens.
Red-tailed green ratsnakes live and spend their lives in the trees and in cavities in trees. They seldom descend to the ground. They are active during the day and prefer to spend time on their own. When Red-tailed green ratsnakes are stressed, they may inflate a bag of air in their neck, making them appear larger in size.
Red-tailed green ratsnakes are carnivores. They feed almost exclusively on birds, bird eggs, lizards, and bats which they catch in mid-air while hanging amongst branches.
Female Red-tailed reen ratsnakes lay on average between 3 and 8 eggs usually between September and January. Incubation takes from 13 to 16 weeks. When the young hatch they are about 45 cm (18 inches) long.
There are no major threats to this species at present.
According to IUCN, the Red-tailed green ratsnake is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.