Near my home gate in Bangkok there is a Hibiscus plant which for many years has produced a remarkable profusion of red flowers. It always attracts my attention when I open the gate. Last week it really grabbed my attention for within its slender branches was wrapped the most beautiful snake. What kind I thought?
Having consulted with a friend in Phuket who has become somewhat of a herpetologist he advised me that it was a “flying snake”. Firstly “flying”is a bit misleading as these snakes glide through the air from tree to tree rather than fly. There are 5 species of flying snakes (genus Chrysopelea) and this particular one is the Golden Tree Snake. This is the largest species of flying snake, reaching up to four feet in length. The one pictured here though was about one and a half feet. Whilst it is called golden there are other colour variants, i.e., the lime green of the above. Due to the size of this particular species, their gliding ability is considered weak. The smaller species have been measured to glide in the jungle some 100 metres which is quite astonishing.
The snake is mildly venomous, but not really harmful to humans (their bite having the same effect as a bee sting apparently) and they live off lizards, other snakes and rodents.
A really beautiful snake.