Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Red-tailed Rat Snake

Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae
Genus/species: Gonyosoma oxycephala

Red-tailed rat snakes are beautiful, iridescent green with either a reddish or purplish tail. They can reach lengths of six feet (2 m). They are excellent climbers and very arboreal. These are diurnal, which means they are active during the day.

Distribution and Habitat
Red-tailed rat snakes are found in Southeast Asia in Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and the Philippines. They prefer tropical forests and mangroves.

Diet in the Wild
They are arboreal constrictors that feed on rodents and birds.

Zoo Diet
The Zoo diet includes mice or small rats.

Breeding can take place year round, but most often in September or October. Females may produce three-to-four clutches a year and the eggs hatch after a three-to-four month incubation.

Life Span
They may live as long as 12 years.

These snakes are not currently listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List, and are not covered by CITES.