Flying Snakes: How Many Types Are There & Where Do They Live?

Written by August Buck
Published: April 29, 2022
Image Credit Vince Adam/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:
Think You Know Snakes?

Did you know that there are certain types of snakes that qualify as flying snakes? What exactly is a flying snake, and how many different types are there? More importantly, where do these types of snakes live so that you know best how to avoid them, or see them, if you happen to be adventurous? 

In this article, we will address everything you need to know about flying snakes, including where they are located around the world. We will also discuss what they look like, how dangerous they are, and what their behavior is like so that you get a true understanding of each one of these snakes. Let’s get started and talk all about flying snakes now! 

What is a Flying Snake?

flying snake types
Many flying snakes look like frisbees or discs as they move from tree to tree, flattening their bodies and allowing air to pass underneath them like the wings of a plane. 

Somporn Pramong/Shutterstock.com

Can You Ace This Quiz?

Will you be the 65th?

Also known as Chrysopelea or gliding snakes, flying snakes earn their namesake from their uncanny ability to climb and navigate trees. They belong to the Colubridae family, which is the largest snake family discovered yet. But what makes these snakes fly, and do they indeed fly through the air?

In short yes, flying snakes do indeed fly from tree to tree. They are so unique in that their bodies shift and morph, allowing them to flatten themselves while in the air. Many flying snakes look like frisbees or discs as they move from tree to tree, flattening their bodies and allowing air to pass underneath them like the wings of a plane. 

Not only are flying snakes able to morph their bodies and skeletal systems in such a way to achieve flight, but they are able to glide more efficiently and farther than the average flying squirrel or sugar glider. Some studies suggest that flying snakes reach up to 100 meters of flight length, jumping from tree to tree. This is one of many reasons why they are being studied by physicists around the world: their abilities are promising to a variety of fields, including robotics. 

Additionally, flying snakes are capable of moving up trees vertically, contorting their bodies and using their powerful muscles to reach the treetops where they are located. Thankfully, flying snakes are only venomous to small creatures and do not pose much of a threat to humans. But where do these snakes live, and how many different types are there? Let’s take a look at that now. 

5 Types of Flying Snakes and Where They Live

Interested in learning more about the different types of flying snakes, including where they live in the world? Let’s take a close and detailed look at all of the different types of these unique and fascinating snakes! 

Sri Lankan Flying Snake

flying snake types
With large eyes and a flattened head, the Sri Lankan flying snake is covered in dark bands as well as green to yellow scales.

Saranga Athukorala/Shutterstock.com

Found in dry lowland zones of India and Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan flying snake is a fantastic and interesting specimen. Also known as the Indian flying snake, this particular gliding snake is medium-sized and has only been recorded in one snake bite case with a human. Like most other snakes of this particular species, there were no serious adverse side effects. 

With large eyes and a flattened head, the Sri Lankan flying snake is covered in dark bands as well as green to yellow scales. It also has orange or red spots on occasion, and reaches up to 35 inches long. It loves living in old growth forest trees and national parks, and frequently eats lizards as well as birds. 

Twin-Barred Tree Snake

flying snake types
Not only is this snake rare, the twin-barred tree snake is also the smallest member of the flying snake family, only reaching 2 feet in length total.

Stephane Bidouze/Shutterstock.com

Also known as the banded flying snake, the twin-barred tree snake is a fairly rare species of flying snake. It is located in Southeast Asia, in locations like India, Thailand, and Malaysia. This snake shares its trees and habitats with the paradise tree snake as well. Not only is this snake rare, it is also the smallest member of the flying snake family, only reaching 2 feet in length total. 

The coloring of the snake allows it to camouflage quite well, as it has a black and white base covered in yellow and red lines. Because of its small size, it glides extraordinarily well through the air, given the fact that weight is an important factor for the amount of distance a flying snake is able to glide. 

Moluccan Flying Snake

flying snake types
The Moluccan flying snake is extremely capable at gliding and moving from tree to tree, though it is on the larger side of the flying snake species.

Vince Adam/Shutterstock.com

Very little is known about the Moluccan flying snake, though it resides in Indonesia, specifically on the islands of Ambon and Sulawesi. It is extremely capable at gliding and moving from tree to tree, though it is on the larger side of the flying snake species, which means it is not as efficient as the banded flying snake, for example. 

Golden Tree Snake

flying snake types
The golden tree snake is the largest flying snake species possible, reaching up to four feet long, which means it is the least impressive glider overall.

iStock.com/Kwhisky

Also known as the ornate flying snake, the golden tree snake isn’t exactly golden at all. However, it comes in a variety of beautiful scales and colors, and you can find the snake throughout much of South and Southeastern Asia. In fact, the snake lives in India, China, Thailand, and the Philippines, among other locations. 

The golden tree snake is the largest flying snake species possible, reaching up to four feet long, which means it is the least impressive glider overall. However, it still manages to fly from tree to tree or from treetop to the ground with little effort. Its beautiful colors and unique abilities make it popular for many exotic pet owners, though this is an extremely anxious and delicate snake, not ideally kept by novices.

Paradise Tree Snake

flying snake types
Covered in a black scale base with intricate green, red, and yellow scales, the paradise tree snake is truly stunning as well as powerful.

Vince Adam/Shutterstock.com

Widely considered the most beautiful and capable flying snake, the paradise tree snake is found throughout Southeastern Asia. Covered in a black scale base with intricate green, red, and yellow scales, the paradise tree snake is truly stunning as well as powerful. It flies far better than the larger flying snakes on this list, and is a favorite among exotic pet owners. 

Reaching up to 3 feet in length, the paradise tree snake has been recorded and observed mid-flight. The body control and maneuverability found in this particular snake is highly impressive, and it truly is paving the way for a variety of research as well as knowledge for these relatively unknown snakes! 

Discover the "Monster" Snake 5X Bigger than an Anaconda

Every day A-Z Animals sends out some of the most incredible facts in the world from our free newsletter. Want to discover the 10 most beautiful snakes in the world, a "snake island" where you're never more than 3 feet from danger, or a "monster" snake 5X larger than an anaconda? Then sign up right now and you'll start receiving our daily newsletter absolutely free.


Share this post on:

More from A-Z Animals