Ornate Flying Snake Fact File

Chrysopelea ornata








Wild 1 years

Captive 1 years



Frogs, Lizards, Bats

Conservation Status


Not Evaluated

The ornate flying snake is also known as the golden flying snake though most are colored greenish-yellow against black.

Their name comes from the ability to glide, carrying them distances of up to 100m (328ft) between 2 trees. This is not true flight as they can not go up they only fall towards the next tree.

This adaptation helps them to evade predators but if threatened they can strike with a mildly venomous bite.

Learn more about these slithering snakes by reading on below.


Despite the Ornate flying snake having a second common name of the Golden flying snake most are colored with a pattern of greenish-yellow and black scales. The underside features only the greenish scales.

The ventral scales are keeled, an unusual trait for snakes.

Their body is relatively slender.

These snakes have rear fangs. These large teeth assist them in getting the mildly venomous saliva in to prey to help subdue it.

In most cases their venom is not considered to be dangerous to humans. If bitten by a snake one should always seek medical treatment.

They reach a length of between 1 and 1.3m (3.25 and 4.25ft).

Males tend to have a longer and thicker tail than the female.


Ornate flying snakes are carnivores. Their diet includes a range of frogs, lizards, smaller snakes, birds and small mammals such as bats.

They are active predators which obtain their food in the jaw and then hold it until it succumbs to the effects of the venom.

Ornate Flying Snake


Asia is the native home of the golden flying snake. Here they can be found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, China, Philippines and Vietnam.


They make their home in secondary forests. With human expansion they have adapted well to life in plantations and agricultural areas.

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Little is known about their breeding habits. Females were captured while carrying eggs during May and June.

Ornate flying snakes deposit between 6 and 14 eggs within soil, leaf litter or rotting wood.

At hatching the young are 15-20cm (6-8in) long.


Ornate flying snakes are named for their ability to 'fly.' This is not powered flight achieved by animals with wings but instead is a glide. This is achieved by extending the ribs and flattening the underside making them appear like a frisbee.

They must start high in a tree as while gliding they will only fall. When moving through the air they will wiggle. This will allow them to travel up to 100m (328ft).

Ornate flying snakes are active by day.

These reptiles are considered arboreal with much of their time spent in the trees.

Ornate Flying Snake

Predators and Threats

Natural predators of the ornate flying snake include birds of prey and larger species of snake.

Their main defense is the ability to jump away from a predator which is threatening them. If they can not escape they will bite the predator.

Humans kill this species due to a mistaken belief that they are dangerous.

In parts of their range they may be killed for food.

Quick facts

The ornate flying snake is also known as the golden flying snake or Indian flying snake.

Ornate Flying Snake

Photo Credits


Shagil Kannur, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Middle One

Len Worthington, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Middle Two

Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Davidvraju, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Woodward, J. and Bryan, K., 2016. DK knowledge encyclopedia Animal!. London: Dorling Kindersley

Alvares, R., 2021. Ornate Flying snake | Rahul Alvares. [online] Rahulalvares.com. Available at: <http://rahulalvares.com/2017/02/ornate-flying-snake/> [Accessed 3 June 2021].

The Reptile Database. 2021. Chrysopelea ornata. [online] Available at: <https://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Chrysopelea&species=ornata&search_param=((taxon%3D%27colubridae%27))> [Accessed 3 June 2021].

Ecologyasia.com. 2021. Golden Tree Snake - Chrysopelea ornata. [online] Available at: <https://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/snakes/golden_tree-snake.htm> [Accessed 3 June 2021].

Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand. 2021. Golden Tree Snake. [online] Available at: <https://bangkokherps.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/golden-tree-snake/> [Accessed 3 June 2021].

Jungledragon.com. 2021. Ornate flying snake (Chrysopelea ornata) - JungleDragon. [online] Available at: <https://www.jungledragon.com/specie/2558/ornate_flying_snake.html> [Accessed 3 June 2021].

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