Thai National Parks

Reptiles of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Red mountain racer

Binomial name: Oreocryptophis porphyraceus (Theodore Edward Cantor, 1839)

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus is a rat snake species, commonly called the black-banded trinket snake, red bamboo snake or red mountain racer, found in mid to upper-level elevations of forested hills in southeastern Asia, ranging from evergreen tropical to dry seasonal forests depending on the subspecies and locality. It is the only member of the genus Oreocryptophis, but it was formerly placed in Elaphe.


The head is small, sharp and squarish, while the color pattern includes red or orange colors, along with black bands or stripes. A terrestrial species, it has a preference for cool climates that restricts its habitat to hills and mountain plateaus. It is known to be crepuscular, active during the late evenings till night and dawn till late mornings. In captivity, it is one of the most sought-after rat snake species.


India (Darjeeling, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh (Miao, Namdapha - Changlang district, Itanagar - Papum Pare district), Myanmar, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, South China (Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Hong Kong, Hainan, northward to Henan and Gansu; south to Wei He river), Taiwan, West Malaysia (Cameron Highlands, Pahang), Indonesia (Sumatra). The type locality given is "India: Assam, Mishmi Hills."


These rat snakes thrive under cool and very humid conditions. On many occasions they are found at altitudes exceeding 800 meters in evergreen moist rainforest or monsoon forests, depending on the subspecies and locality. They spend most of the time hiding in leaf litter, under moss carpets, or under rocks and logs.


The diet consists primarily of rodents and other small mammals in the wild. Frogs are a possibility. In captivity, mice are accepted readily.

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Scientific classification

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus

Common names

  • German: Rote (breitband-) Bambusnatter
  • English: Red mountain racer, Black-banded trinket snake, Red bamboo snake, Lox's mountoin racer
  • Thai: งูทางมะพร้าวแดงภูหลวง


  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus coxi (Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger, 1998) - Northwest Thailand
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus kawakamii (Masamitsu Ōshima, 1911) - Taiwan
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus laticincta (Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger, 1998) - Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra.
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus porphyraceus (Theodore Edward Cantor, 1839) - Buthan; India; Laos; Myanmar; Nepal; People's Republic of China, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus pulchra (Karl Patterson Schmidt, 1925) - China
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus vaillanti (Henri Émile Sauvage, 1876) - Hong Kong, China, Vietnam


  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
  • Ortriophis sic porphyraceus, Werner Kästle et al. (2013)
  • Oreocryptophis prophyraceus, Mark Laita (2013)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus laticinctus, Werning (2013)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus porphyraceus, Klaus-Dieter Schulz (2010)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus porphyraceus, Bill Love (2010)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyracea laticinctus, Klaus-Dieter Schulz et al. (2010)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus vaillanti, Nikolai L. Orlov (2010)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyracea kawakamii, Mao et al. (2009)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus, Larry Lee Grismer et al. (2008)
  • Oreocryptophis prophyraceus, Thomas Ziegler et al. (2007)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus, Chris Mattison (2007)
  • Oreocryptophis prophyraceus, Urs Utiger et al. (2005)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus nigrofasciatus, Verena Knietsch (2005)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus coxi, Verena Knietsch (2005)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus pulchra, Verena Knietsch (2005)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus kawakamii, Verena Knietsch (2005)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus hainana, Verena Knietsch (2005)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus laticinctus, Von J. Bulian (2005)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus, Patrick David et al. (2004)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus laticincta, Wolfgang Grossmann & Frank Tillack (2004)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus porphyraceus, Andreas Gumprecht (2003)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus vaillanti, Andreas Gumprecht (2003)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus, Urs Utiger et al. (2002)
  • Elaphe porphyracea vaillanti, Klaus-Dieter Schulz (2000)
  • Elaphe porphyracea coxi, Tanya Chan-Ard et al. (1999)
  • Elaphe porphyracea laticincta, Tanya Chan-Ard et al. (1999)
  • Elaphe porphyracea porphyracea, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Elaphe porphyracea nigrofasciata, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus coxi, Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger (1998)
  • Elaphe porphyracea coxi, Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger (1998)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus laticinctus, Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger (1998)
  • Elaphe porphyracea laticincta, Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger (1998)
  • Elaphe porphyracea pulchra, Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger (1998)
  • Elaphe porphyracea vaillanti, Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger (1998)
  • Elaphe porphyracea, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Elaphe porphyracea, Klaus-Dieter Schulz (1996)
  • Elaphe porphyracea nigrofasciata, Clifford H. Pope (1935)
  • Elaphe porphyracea sikiangensis, R. Mell (1931)
  • Holarchus vaillanti, R. Mell (1931)
  • Elaphe porphyracea hainana, R. Mell (1931)
  • Elaphe porphyracea pulchra, R. Mell (1931)
  • Elaphe porphyracea pulchra, Karl Patterson Schmidt (1925)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus pulcher, Karl Patterson Schmidt (1925)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus kawakamii, Masamitsu Ōshima (1911)
  • Liopeltis kawakami, Masamitsu Ōshima (1911)
  • Liopeltis kawakamii, Masamitsu Ōshima (1910)
  • Elaphe porphyracea, John Van Denburgh (1909)
  • Coluber porphyraceus, Frank Wall (1908)
  • Coluber porphyraceus, George Albert Boulenger (1894)
  • Ablabes porphyraceus, George Albert Boulenger (1890)
  • Simotes vaillanti, Henri Émile Sauvage (1876)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus vaillanti, Henri Émile Sauvage (1876)
  • Coluber porphyraceus, John Anderson (1871)
  • Coronella callicephalus, John Edward Gray (1853)
  • Coluber porphyraceus, Theodore Edward Cantor (1839)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus porphyraceus, Theodore Edward Cantor (1839)
  • Psammophis nigrofasciatus, Theodore Edward Cantor (1839)

Red mountain racer is found in following locations in Thailand

Please note that this non-official list is not complete nor necessarily accurate. This list is a summary of checklists from other websites, blogs, publications, photo/videos published on various websites or our own findings. We appreciate your contributions with photo proof.

  • Chae Son National Park
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
  • Doi Tung
  • Huai Nam Dang National Park
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Khlong Wang Chao National Park
  • Mae Sariang District
  • Mae Tho National Park
  • Pai District
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Phop Phra District
  • Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Thoeng District
  • Umphang District
  • Wiang Kaen District
  • Wiang Pa Pao District
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus

Public domain

Distribution map of Red mountain racer, Oreocryptophis porphyraceus in Thailand

Range map of Oreocryptophis porphyraceus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are generated automatically based on very limited data we have about the protected sites, the data is not necessarily accurate. Please help us to improve our range maps by sharing your findings/knowledge.