Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Gonyosoma oxycephalum Boie, 1827

Species:G. oxycephalum
Common Names:Red-tailed Racer


The Red-tailed Racer grows to a total length of about 2.4 m. Its body is thick-set, elongated and depressed. It has a head that is distinct from the neck; an elongated, squarish snout; large eyes with rounded pupils; and a long, tapering tail. The dorsal surface of this snake is an emerald green or light green. A black stripe runs across each side of its head from the nostril, across the eye to above the upper jaw, separating the green upper and yellow lower parts of its head. Its tail-tip is yellowish-brown or reddish-orange. The ventral scales of this snake are yellow. This snake may also occur in an orange-coloured morph.

Read more about the Squamata order.
Read more about the Colubridae family.


This snake can be found in Southern Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Pulau Nias, Pulau Bangka, Pulau Belitung, the Riau, Mentawai, and Natuna Archipelagos, Borneo, Java, Lombok, Sulawesi, India and the Phillippines.


It has been recorded from Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Pulau Tekong.

Locality Map

General Biology

It inhabits mature forests, mangroves, plantations and gardens. This snake is diurnal and mainly arboreal, it is known to raid birds’ nests for food. It also does have some terrestrial activity, especially in juveniles. The Red-tailed Racer is non-venomous.


It feeds on rodents, bats and birds.

Life Cycle

Oviparous; it produces several clutches annually with each clutch comprising of 5–12 eggs.

Other Resources

Ecology Asia. 2012. Red-tailed Racer. http://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/snakes/red-tailed-racer.htm. (Accessed November 2012).

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Gonyosoma oxycephalum. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=gonyosoma&species=oxycephalum. (Accessed November 2012).


Baker, N. & K.K.P. Lim, 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.

Cox, M. J., P.P. Van Dijk, J. Nabhitabhata & K. Thirakhupt, 2010. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd. 144 pp.

Das, I., 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. 376 pp.

Spot any errors? Have any questions? Something to contribute? Email us at dbsthh@nus.edu.sg!
Presented by

Sponsored by