A friend of mine keeps snakes for pets. I have known him for more than 25 years, and during that time he has always had at least a couple of snakes in his home, and I believe a spider or two. Yes, I do mean on purpose. He is a relatively normal fᴇʟʟow (well, at least by my standards) so I kind of got used to the idea that there are some people out there that view these slinky reptiles a ʙɪᴛ differently than I do.
But one thing that cannot be denied, at least once you get past your initial repulsion, is that snakes are truly beautiful creatures. Maybe not in the way that a furry squirrel or a delicate ʙᴜᴛᴛerfly is beautiful, but they do have a unique elegance and primal cʜᴀʀᴍ that no other creature can match. This can be difficult to see when the lovely viper is hissing at you from a few feet away, so I have collected a few of the most fascinating here for you to enjoy.
1. Northern Sᴄᴀʀlet Snake
The Northern Sᴄᴀʀlet Snake is found in the southern and eastern Uɴɪᴛᴇᴅ Sᴛᴀᴛᴇs, often burrowing in open forest areas or developed agricultural areas and spends most of its time hidden. This nonᴠᴇɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs colubrid feeds mostly on reptile eggs including snake eggs but also sometimes eats rodents or lizards. It is a small snake with a maximum length of less than two feet with a record length of 32 inches.
2. Blue Malaysian Coral Snake
The Blue Malaysian Coral Snake grows to about 5 feet and lives on a ᴅɪᴇt of other snakes, including others of its own kind. It might occasionally consume a lizard or a frog, maybe even an unlucky bird, but for the most part it is strictly a snake eater. This ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴᴏᴜs reptile is active mostly at night when it can be fairly ᴀɢɢʀᴇssɪᴠᴇ while ʀᴇᴍᴀɪɴing rather timid until the sun goes ᴅᴏᴡɴ. It uses its colorful body to sᴄᴀʀe off ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs by turning over and showing its red belly and uses its tail as a decoy for its head, allowing it to sᴛʀɪᴋe when its tail is ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋed. The snake can be found in Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.
3. Eastern Corn Snake
Eastern Corn Snakes (or simply Corn Snakes or also known as Red Rat Snakes) are found in the southeastern and central Uɴɪᴛᴇᴅ Sᴛᴀᴛᴇs. These beautiful reptiles reach lengths of 4 feet up to about 6 feet and are often found in areas where small rodents gather as this is their primary source of food. They are rather docile snakes that make excellent pets as their care is rather simple and they are generally reluctant to ʙɪᴛᴇ, making them a good choice even for young snake enthusiasts.
4. High Yellow Green Tree Python
The High Yellow Tree Python is a large snake that grows from four to seven feet long. It is nonᴠᴇɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs and eats small mammals and sometimes reptiles. They ʜᴜɴᴛ by hanging from branches and sᴛʀɪᴋing from an S shape, then constricting the ᴘʀᴇʏ. It is an oviparous snake and one of the few snakes that stays with its eggs to incubate them. It is found mainly on the island of Kofiau in West Papua, Indonesia, though the aforementioned Green Tree Python to which it is closely related can be found throughout most of Indonesia, New Guinea and parts of Queensland, Australia.
5. Lᴇᴜᴄɪsᴛɪᴄ Texas Rat Snake
The Lᴇᴜᴄɪsᴛɪᴄ Texas Rat Snake is a nonᴠᴇɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs colubrid found primarily in Texas. I wonder if that has anything to do with why it was named what it was? The “ʟᴇᴜᴄɪsᴛɪᴄ” part means they have reduced ᴘɪɢᴍᴇɴᴛation of all skin ᴘɪɢᴍᴇɴᴛs which is different from ᴀʟʙɪɴɪsᴍ in which only melanin is reduced. Unlike ᴀʟʙɪɴᴏs, animals characterized by ʟᴇᴜᴄɪsᴍ do not have altered eye color. Growing to lengths over 6 feet, the Lᴇᴜᴄɪsᴛɪᴄ Texas Rat Snake has a healthy appetite and consumes plenty of rodents and birds as well as frogs and lizards. They are quick to ʙɪᴛᴇ if handled, but their ʙɪᴛᴇ is mostly ʜᴀʀᴍless.
6. King Cobra
When it comes to big snakes, people generally think of boas, pythons, and anacondas. But the King Cobra, the world’s longest ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs snake, is no shorty by a long S.H.O.T. Averaging around 12 feet but topping out at over 18 feet, the King Cobra is still a fast and agile reptile. It is considered the most ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs Asiatic snake, delivering a potent amount of ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ in a single ʙɪᴛᴇ. Found throughout Southeast Asia and parts of Iɴᴅɪᴀ, this snake subsists mainly on other snakes but will now and then consume lizards, small rodents, and even birds.
7. Emerald Green Pit Viper
Let’s begin with a relatively new discovery; the Emerald Green Pit Viper was first found in 2002 in the eastern mountains of the Himalayas in the nation of Burma. This intensely green ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs snake has bright markings with males having red eyes with red and white stripes while females have yellow eyes and stripes that are mostly white. They can grow to at least 4 1/2 feet long, but as a fairly recent finding in the reptile kingdom, there may be much about this lovely creature that we are yet to learn, including their actual maximum size.
8. Pied-Bellied Shieldtail Snake
Pied-Bellied Shieldtails are nonᴠᴇɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs, burrowing snakes that mostly live underground in Iɴᴅɪᴀ and Sʀɪ Lᴀɴᴋᴀ. It is believed they eat mainly earthworms, but very little research has been done to support this. They are relatively small with a maximum length of around 2 1/2 feet but more often are much smaller, with full grown snakes sometimes no longer than eight inches.
9. Emerald Tree Boa
The Emerald Tree Boa is found in many parts of South America including along the Amazon River. They average around six feet in length but can grow up to nine feet. Their ᴅɪᴇt is mainly small mammals but they do occasionally consume birds, lizards and frogs. Their slow metabolism allow them to go several months between meals. Though completely unrelated species, Emerald Tree Boas appear very similar to the Green Tree Python who are closely related to the High Yellow Green Tree Python.
10. Topaz Tanami Woma Python
The Topaz Tanami Woma Python is a medium-sized python growing to about 3 1/2 feet that was purposefully bred while in ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ from the Tanami Woma Python to increase the richness of its colors. The Tanami Woma is found in the Tanami desert region of Australia’s Northern Territory. In their natural haʙɪᴛat, womas are burrowing snakes, often living in multi-chambered burrows. They eat small mammals such as ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs as well as lizards and other reptiles.
11. Brazilian Rainbow Boa
The Brazilian Rainbow Boa is one of nature’s most beautiful snakes. The iridescent quality of its scales is ᴄᴀᴜsᴇd by tiny ridges on the scales that refract light like small prisms. This adds to the boa’s already attractive coloring and really makes this a standout reptile. Found mainly in the Amazon Basin, this snake feeds mostly on small rodents and birds but also may eat amphibians such as frogs and lizards. It is a mid-sized snake, averaging about 5 feet though occasionally reaching 7 feet or more.