Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Red bamboo rat snake

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus, Theodore Edward Cantor, 1839

(In Thai: งูทางมะพร้าวแดง, ngu thang maphao daeng)

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 bamboo rat snake
    • Black-banded trinket snake
    • Red bamboo snake
    • Lox's mountoin racer
    • Red mountain racer
  • Thai: งูทางมะพร้าวแดง, ngu thang maphao daeng


  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus coxi, Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger, 1998

    Range: Northwest Thailand

  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus kawakamii, Masamitsu Ōshima, 1911

    Range: Taiwan

  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus laticincta, Klaus-Dieter Schulz & Notker Helfenberger, 1998

    Range: Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra.

  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus porphyraceus, Theodore Edward Cantor, 1839

    Range: Buthan; India; Laos; Myanmar; Nepal; People's Republic of China, Thailand, Vietnam

  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus pulchra, Karl Patterson Schmidt, 1925

    Range: China

  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus vaillanti, Henri Émile Sauvage, 1876

    Range: Hong Kong, China, Vietnam


  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus laticinctus, Werning (2013)
  • Oreocryptophis prophyraceus, Mark Laita (2013)
  • Ortriophis sic porphyraceus, Werner Kästle et al. (2013)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus vaillanti, Nikolai L. Orlov (2010)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyracea laticinctus, Klaus-Dieter Schulz et al. (2010)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyraceus porphyraceus, Bill Love (2010)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus porphyraceus, Klaus-Dieter Schulz (2010)
  • Oreocryptophis porphyracea kawakamii, Mao et al. (2009)
  • Oreophis porphyraceus, Larry Lee Grismer et al. (2008)


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Oreocryptophis porphyraceus pulchra - Doi Phu Kha National Park
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus pulchra - Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus pulchra (juvenile) - Doi Tung, Chiang Rai

Range Map

Distribution map of Red bamboo rat snake, Oreocryptophis porphyraceus in Thailand
  • Bo Kluea District, Nan
  • Chae Son National Park
  • Chiang Klang District, Nan
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok 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
  • Khun Yuam District, Mae Hong Son
  • Lom Kao District, Phetchabun
  • Mae Charim District, Nan
  • Mae Charim National Park
  • Mae Fa Luang District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Sariang District, Mae Hong Son
  • Mae Tho National Park
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Na Noi District, Nan
  • Nakhon Thai District, Phitsanulok
  • Omkoi District, Chiang Mai
  • Op Luang National Park
  • Pai District, Mae Hong Son
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Phop Phra District, Tak
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Kradueng District, Loei
  • Phu Kradueng National Park
  • Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Soi Dao National Park
  • Pua District, Nan
  • Tha Wang Pha District, Nan
  • Thoeng District, Chiang Rai
  • Umphang District, Tak
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai
  • Wiang Pa Pao District, Chiang Rai
Range map of Oreocryptophis porphyraceus in Thailand