Thai National Parks

Snakes of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Oriental whip snake

In Thai: งูเขียวหัวจิ้งจก, ngu khieow hua jingjok

Binomial name: Ahaetulla prasina, Heinrich Boie, 1827

Ahaetulla prasina is a species of snake in the family Colubridae native to southern Asia. Its common names include Asian vine snake, Boie's whip snake, Gunther's whip snake, and Oriental whip snake.


The body form is extremely slender with a long, pointed, projecting snout which is rather more than twice as long as the eye. Adult colouration varies from light brown to dull yellow-green and often a startling fluorescent green.

The type and number of scales is used to identify the snakes. In this species the Internasals are usually in contact with the labial or lip scales. There are one to four small loreals between the prefrontal and the labial scales. The frontal is as long as its distance from the end of the snout or a little longer and a little longer than the parietal scales. There is one preocular scale in front of the eye, which is in contact with the frontal scale. There two postocular scales (behind the eyes). The temporal scales come in patters of 2+2 or 3+3, rarely 1+2. Of the upper labial scales, the ninth, fourth, fifth, and sixth enter the eye while the 4 lower labials are in contact with the anterior chin-shields, which are shorter than the posterior chin-shields. The scales in 15 rows and are usually faintly keeled on the sacral\\ region.

There are 203-234 Ventral scales which are anal divided. There are 167 to 203 subcaudals which are bright green, pale olive, or grey-brown, with a yellow line along each side of the lower parts. The interstitial skin of the neck is black and white.

Adults may attain 1.8 m (6 feet) in total length, with a tail 0.6 m (2 feet) long.

Its appearance is very much like those of South American vine snakes. It is a rear-fanged species and is mildly venomous but is not considered a threat to humans.


This snake has a wide distribution in Asia, where it occurs in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.


The Asian vine snake feeds on small reptiles and amphibians, particularly lizards and tree frogs.

In captivity

In recent years, it has entered the pet trade and has become quite popular among hobbyists.


Four subspecies are recognized, including the nominate race.

  • Ahaetulla prasina medioxima Lazell, 2002
  • Ahaetulla prasina preocularis (Taylor, 1922): Philippine Islands, including Sulu Archipelago, Panay, Luzon.
  • Ahaetulla prasina prasina (Boie, 1827)
  • Ahaetulla prasina suluensis Gaulke, 1994: Philippine Islands, Sulu Archipelago

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Scientific classification

Ahaetulla prasina

Common names

  • German: Grüne peitschennatter
  • English:
    • Oriental whip snake
    • Gunther’s whip snake
    • Asian vine snake
    • Jade vine snake
    • Boie's whip snake
  • Thai:
    • งูเขียวหัวจิ้งจก, ngu khieow hua jingjok
    • งูเขียวปากจิ้งจก, ngu khiaow pak jingjok


  • Ahaetulla prasina medioxima, James Draper Lazell, 2002

  • Ahaetulla prasina prasina, Friedrich Boie, 1827

  • Ahaetulla prasina preocularis, Edward Harrison Taylor, 1922

  • Ahaetulla prasina suluensis, Maren Gaulke, 1994


  • Ahaetulla prasina, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
  • Ahaetulla prasina preocularis, Rafe Marion Brown et al. (2013)
  • Ahaetulla prasina preocularis, Anne Devan-Song & Rafe Marion Brown (2012)
  • Ahaetulla prasina preocularis, David S. McLeod et al. (2011)
  • Ahaetula sic prasina, R. Woning (2004)
  • Ahaetula prasina, R. Woning (2004)
  • Ahaetulla prasinus, R.C. Sharma (2004)
  • Ahaetulla prasina, Maren Gaulke (1999)
  • Ahaetulla prasina, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Ahaetulla prasina, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Dryophis prasinus, John Roscoe Hendrickson (1966)
  • Dryophis prasinus, Malcolm Arthur Smith (1943)
  • Ahaetulla prasina, Leonhard Hess Stejneger (1933)
  • Dryophis prasinus chinensis, R. Mell (1930)
  • Passerita prasina, Robert Mertens (1930)
  • Passerita prasina, Malcolm Arthur Smith (1930)
  • Passerita prasina, Leonhard Hess Stejneger (1923)
  • Ahaetulla prasina preocularis, Edward Harrison Taylor (1922)
  • Dryophis preocularis, Edward Harrison Taylor (1922)
  • Dryophis xanthozona, Hans Holtzinger-Tenever (1919)
  • Dryophis prasinus flavescens, Frank Wall (1910)
  • Dryophis prasinus, George Albert Boulenger (1897)
  • Tragops prasinus, Johann Gustav Fischer (1885)
  • Tragops prasinus, John Anderson (1871)
  • Drynius sic prasinus, Edward Frederick Kelaart (1854)
  • Drynius prasinus, Edward Frederick Kelaart (1854)
  • Tragops prasinus, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1854)
  • Tragops xanthozonius, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1854)
  • Dryinus prasinus, Theodore Edward Cantor (1847)
  • Tragops prasinus, Johann Georg Wagler (1830)
  • Tragops prasinus, Friedrich Boie (1827)
  • Passerita prasina, Friedrich Boie (1827)
  • Dryinus prasinus, Friedrich Boie (1827)
  • Dryophis prasina, Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt in Friedrich Boie (1827)
  • Dryophis prasinus, Friedrich Boie (1827)
  • Coluber mycterizans, Thomas Stamford Raffles (1822)
  • Coluber nasutus, George Shaw (1802)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


Ahaetulla prasina - Kaeng Krachan NP
Ahaetulla prasina (green morph) - Kaeng Krachan NP
Ahaetulla prasina (yellow morph) - Phu Suan Sai NP
Ahaetulla prasina (yellow morph) - Khao Khitchakut District, Chanthaburi
Ahaetulla prasina (white/silvery morph, adult) - Tat Mok NP
Ahaetulla prasina (white/silvery morph, juvenile) - Tat Mok NP
Ahaetulla prasina (creamy/white morph) - Khao Yai NP
Ahaetulla prasina (brown morph) - Khao Yai NP
Ahaetulla prasina (brown morph) - Khao Yai NP
Ahaetulla prasina feeding on an Acanthosaura crucigera - Kaeng Krachan NP
Ahaetulla prasina feeding on a Sphenomorphus maculatus - Sai Yok NP

Range Map

Distribution map of Oriental whip snake, Ahaetulla prasina in Thailand
Range map of Ahaetulla prasina in Thailand