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Spot 20 incredible red snakes (7 of which are venomous!)

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Red can be stunningly beautiful, but also bold and dangerous. Animals in red are usually a warning to keep away. Some animals use red for camouflage, some to attract mates, and others are proud of bright red to look beautiful for themselves.

There are many snakes showing off these delicate red colors and designs. Many of these snakes are solid red from head to tail, while others are red variants, or have striking red details that contrast with other delicate colors. Check out 20 of these adorable red snakes now!

20. Milk snake

red snake
Milk Snakes got their name from the mistaken belief that these snakes milk milk.

©TheTexasNaturelist/Shutterstock.com

There are twenty-four subspecies of milk snakes that live in many different types of habitats. Milk snakes live in Mexico, the Caribbean, the central and eastern United States, and some areas of southeastern Canada. These snakes range in length from 14-72 inches, depending on the subspecies. For example, New Mexican milk snakes are 16-24 inches long, while Andean milk snakes can grow up to 72 inches.

Milk snakes are as much about their appearance as they are about their size. Typically, however, all milk snakes have some combination of bright red, black and cream or yellow with banded or spotted markings. A black band frames these white or cream markers. The bright coloring mimics the venomous coral snake and helps protect this red snake from predators. These snakes are non-venomous and harmless to humans.

19. San Francisco Garter Snake

red snake
The San Francisco garter snake is one of the rarest snakes in North America

© iStock.com/yhelfman

The San Francisco garter snake lives on California's San Francisco Peninsula, usually in moist, dense vegetation. The snake lives near ponds and other bodies of water and feeds primarily on California red-legged frogs. It is a subspecies of garter snake that can measure between 18-55 inches in length. This colorful snake has blue-green, black and red stripes and a small red head. The San Francisco garter snake is an endangered species due to habitat loss and illegal collection of the reptile.

18. Scarlet Snake

red snake
The scarlet snake is non-venomous, although it looks similar to the venomous coral snake.

©Chase D'animulls/Shutterstock.com

Scarlet snakes are commonly found in open forest areas of the southeastern United States. There are also isolated scarlet snake populations in Missouri and Jewish Jersey. These are small, nonvenomous snakes, about 14-20 inches long, with slender bodies. They are white, beige, or gray with large, long red spots and smaller white or cream stripes. A small black band separates these red and white markings. Scarlet snakes are nocturnal and stealthy, spending most of the day burrowing and hiding. They are rarely seen by humans.

17. Amazon tree python

amazon tree python
Amazon tree pythons can come in many different colors and patterns throughout their lives.

© Amazon tree python/Shutterstock.com

Amazon tree pythons live in the forests of South America. It is a stunning non-venomous snake that can be between 4-6 feet in length. Amazon tree pythons come in a variety of colors, from black and dark brown to bright yellow, orange and red. Some snakes are solid in color, while others have patterns on their backs. Each snake has its own unique color and design, making it difficult to find any two snakes that look the same. As beautiful as they are, Amazon tree pythons are very aggressive and easily bite with their long, sharp teeth.

16. Coral snake

red snake
While many other venomous snakes have vertical, thin pupils, coral snakes have round pupils.

©jokerbethyname/Shutterstock.com

There are more than 65 species of venomous New World coral snakes living in North and South America. In the United States, the saying "red touches yellow kills" is used to help people identify which snakes are harmless and which are venomous. However, biologists now know that this claim is not always accurate, because some coral snakes with different patterns and colors live in other areas. Yet in the United States, especially the Southeast, the saying still holds true.

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American coral snakes have yellow or white, red and black stripes. There are many snakes with similar patterns mimicking coral snakes, but only coral snakes have a red band next to a yellow or cream band. Non-venomous mimics, such as milk snakes and scarlet snakes, have red stripes joined by black stripes. Coral snakes are stealthy and reclusive, spending most of their lives burrowing underground or hiding in fallen leaves. Although these snakes are venomous, they are not aggressive and rarely bite humans.

15. Scarlet Kingsnake

red snake
The nose of the Scarlet King Snake is always red, another easily recognizable feature.

© iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

Scarlet king snakes live in the eastern and southeastern United States. Most commonly, these snakes seem to prefer living in pine forests. However, they are also found in a variety of different habitats, from grasslands to urban swimming pools. These snakes are typically 16-20 inches long and have a dark red body with yellow stripes bordered by black. Scarlet kingsnakes are rarely seen by humans because they are stealthy, nocturnal and often burrow underground.

14. Red Racer

red snake
The Red Racer is also known as the Red Coachwhip because of the "whip"-like weave pattern on its tail.

© Deep Desert Photography/Shutterstock.com

The red racer, or red whip, is a nonvenomous snake that lives in the western United States and some parts of Mexico. These snakes live in open rocky areas and deserts. The red racing car grows to 36-102 inches long with a slender, whip-shaped body. Their bodies are pink, red, tan, or gray with black stripes or spots on their necks and heads. As red racers age, their color changes, becoming more and more red. Red racers are not poisonous, but they are extremely aggressive. They are fast and bite violently when threatened.

13. Corn snake or red rat snake

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Corn snakes are one of the most popular pet snake species because they are easy for beginners to handle.

©iStock.com/imarly

Did you know that the corn snake is a type of rat snake that lives in the eastern and southeastern United States? These snakes are typically 2-4 feet long and have a brown, gray, tan, or orange body with reddish-orange or black framed spots on the back and sides. They get their name from the distinctive checkerboard pattern on their bellies, which looks like corn or flint corn. The corn snake is a type of python that eats a variety of animals such as mice, shrews, rats, birds and their eggs, insects, reptiles, and amphibians.

Gentle and non-venomous, these snakes are very popular pets in the United States. Over time, pet corn snakes have hybridized, creating a wider range of different color morphs. For example, the vibrant blood red corn snake is completely red with little patterning. The more rare variegated blood red variant has white sides and belly and bright red dorsally. The candy cane snake, on the other hand, looks like a living candy cane with red and white stripes.

12. California red-sided garter snake

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The California red-sided garter snake averages 3 feet in length.

© Simone O/Shutterstock.com

Like its name, the magnificent California red-sided garter snake lives in California, often near waters in coastal and swampy areas. These colorful snakes range between Humboldt and Monterey counties in the north, and Santa Barbara and San Diego counties in the south. These red snakes are a subspecies of garter snakes that have very distinctive patterns and beautiful eye-catching colors. Their bodies are bright red and black checkered with long, contrasting yellow or blue stripes on the back and sides. Every time the snake slithers, these dazzling colors also seem to move hypnotically.

The California red-sided garter snake measures between 18-55 inches in length and has a slender and flexible body. They do have a very mild venom to attack their prey, but it is not lethal to humans. They will bite if they feel irritated or threatened, but in general, these amazing snakes are good-natured. The California red-sided garter snake is an endangered species.

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11. Mud snake

red snake
The longest mud snake ever recorded was over 80 inches long.

© Thesigner_2696/Shutterstock.com

Mud snakes are non-venomous and live in the southeastern United States. The top of this red snake is completely black with smooth, shiny scales. However, its underbelly and underside are bright red with black stripes. Mud snakes are 40-54 inches long and have thick, heavy bodies. These snakes are nocturnal, semi-aquatic snakes, but they only leave the water for limb development and egg laying. Mud snakes eat aquatic prey such as amphibians and aquatic giant salamanders.

10. The Ginger Siren

red haired krait
Red-headed sea snakes are highly venomous and dangerous. However, such snakes are rarely encountered.

© Kritsada Petchuay/Shutterstock.com

The red-headed krait is a fascinating and beautiful snake that lives in the lowland rainforests and islands of Southeast Asia. Although it can grow up to 7 feet long, this snake is usually closer to 4-5 feet long. What makes this semi-aquatic snake so striking is its bright red head and tail, which contrast beautifully with its sleek black body. Very thin blue and white stripes also run along each side of the snake's slender body. The red krait is highly venomous and dangerous. However, these snakes are nocturnal and rarely bite humans. The red-haired krait is also usually kept away from human settlements.

9. African Bush Viper

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African bush vipers come in orange, red, gray, black, yellow, blue, brown, and olive.

© iStock.com/Mark Kostic

The African bush viper is a venomous arboreal snake that spends most of its life high in the rainforests of West and Central Africa. These snakes are 18-24 inches long and are sometimes called "green vipers". However, African bush vipers come in a variety of colors and variants, including red, orange, yellow, blue, brown, green, black, and gray. As these snakes age, their color may continue to change. African bush vipers look like juvenile dragons, with overlapping keel-like scales that give the snake a prickly look.

8. Red-bellied black snake

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The red-bellied black snake is glossy black on top and various shades of red on the underside

©Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

The red-bellied black snake lives in wet habitats in Australia such as lagoons, swamps, streams, woodlands, forests. These snakes are 48-72 inches long and have a black body with smooth scales. Their undersides are bright red, fading into a pink or orange belly. Red-bellied black snakes primarily eat frogs, toads, and tadpoles. Unfortunately, this also exposes them to cane toads, which are poisonous to these snakes. The red-bellied black snake is venomous, but not aggressive.

7. Red Spray Cobra

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The red spray cobra is a dangerous snake capable of spitting venom into the eyes of its victims. Red cobras are distinguished from other snakes in the genus Cobra by a thick black band around their neck and throat.

© mountainpix/Shutterstock.com

The red cobra lives in desert areas and near water holes in East Africa and Kenya. The snake is usually red or orange with a large black or dark blue band around the throat. However, depending on its native region, it may have color variations of brown, orange, yellow, pink or gray. The red cobra is 28-50 inches long and is named for its unique defenses. When threatened, the red venom cobra will "spit" venom into the attacker's eyes with astonishing accuracy.

6. Black-headed cat snake

black headed cat snake
The black-headed cat snake has vertically split pupils that look like cat's eyes.

©Pepew Fegley/Shutterstock.com

The black-headed cat snake, or red cat snake, lives in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. This arboreal snake is brown, black, red or orange and can reach a length of 36-54 inches. Adult black-headed cat snakes also have a greenish-black head. These snakes are venomous, possibly similar to that of copperheads. They eat smaller snakes, amphibians, lizards, rodents and birds.

5. Ring-necked snake

red snake
Ring-necked snakes often play dead when threatened.

©Jason Mintzer/Shutterstock.com

The ring-necked snake is a small, harmless snake found in the United States, southeastern Canada, and central Mexico. The upper half of the snake's body is black or gray, while the lower half is bright red, orange and/or yellow with tiny black spots. It also has a colorful "ring" marking around its neck. When threatened, the ring-necked snake curls its tail, revealing its bright belly. Although common, these snakes are cryptic and are rarely seen by humans.

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4. Blue Malayan Coral Snake

red snake
The blue Malayan coral snake is beautiful but deadly.

© reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

Like its name, the blue Malayan coral snake is mostly blue or blue-black, usually with a white or blue stripe on each side. However, the snake's belly and tail are a dazzling bright red, in stark contrast to its otherwise dark colour. The Blue Malayan Coral Snake is a highly venomous Southeast Asian snake that grows 55-70 inches long.

3. Red Coffee Snake

red coffee snake
The red coffee snake lives in parts of Central America and Mexico.

©Ferdy Timmerman/Shutterstock.com

The red coffee snake is a nonvenomous snake that lives in the savannas and forests of Central America and Mexico. These snakes are dark red with black and yellow patterns on their heads. Although they may resemble venomous coral snakes in color, red coffee snakes are harmless. They eat earthworms, snails and slugs.

2. Sumatran blood python

red snake
Adult blood pythons can grow up to eight feet long. It can be heavy due to its muscular build.

© dwi putra stock/Shutterstock.com

Sumatran blood pythons live in the tropical rainforests and swamps of Southeast Asia. These snakes are typically 36-72 inches long and have thick, heavy bodies. Blood pythons are usually bright red, but some are orange, brown, or yellow. Lighter tan and yellow markings and stripes cover their bodies. Sadly, due to their beautiful colors, these snakes are often trapped and sold for their hides. Blood pythons can be aggressive and unpredictable, although some people do keep them as pets.

1. Red Coral Kukri Snake

red snake
The red coral Kukri snake is named for its huge back teeth, which curve like Gurkha "kukri" knives.

© Prajjwal Ray/Shutterstock.com

Little is known about the extremely elusive red coral Kukri snake. Most of what we know comes from just two of these snakes found in India in 2014 and 2015. Both were dead when they were found. Only a handful of these snakes have been seen since they were first recorded in 1936. In India, a red coral kukri snake can be found occasionally, usually every few years or so. In 2021, one of these rare snakes was spotted for the first time in Bangladesh.

The red coral kukri snake is a nonvenomous snake with a bright orange or coral red body. Biologists believe these snakes live underground and feed on earthworms and insects. The red coral kukri snake is protected in India under the Wild Animals Protection Act 1972.

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about the author


For 10 years I have been a professional writer with a special focus on nature, wildlife, ethnozoology and the human-animal relationship. My areas of interest include human-animal studies, ecocriticism, wildlife conservation, pets, and animal behavior. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a master's degree in comparative studies, focusing on the relationship between humans and the natural world. In my spare time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, watching movies, reading, creating art, and taking care of my pets. Nothing makes me happier than spending a day in the company of animals.

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