13 Blue Snakes: A Colorful Journey into the World of Serpents

From the Depths of the Ocean to the Heights of the Trees: Meet the Blue Snakes of the World

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When we think of snakes, colors like green, brown, or even the striking black and yellow of a coral snake come to mind. But blue? That hue is as rare as it is captivating in the world of serpents. The color blue is very uncommon among snakes and generally unusual in the animal kingdom. When it does occur, it is often a result of unique environmental adaptations or scale structure colorization. 

These azure wonders can be found in various habitats, ranging from the ocean's depths to the towering tree canopies. They are each with their own fascinating lifestyle and diet.
Today, we want to take you on a colorful journey to explore 13 of the most intriguing blue snake species that grace our planet. Whether you're a real herpetologist, a snake enthusiast, or captivated by the beauty of nature, prepare to be amazed by these remarkable (and beautiful) reptiles.

1. Blue Racer Snake

Blue racer head close-ip

Blue racer snake developing the adult blue coloration.

The blue racer snake (Coluber constrictor foxii) is a striking non-venomous subspecies of the eastern racer. It has a slender, greyish-blue body and a unique white-gold face mask. It truly is a captivating sight. Its eye scales can sometimes be confused with similar-looking fox and rat snakes. Adult blue racers can vary in size. Typically, they range from 36 to 60 inches, although the record size is an astonishing 72 inches.

In the United States, the snake's presence is now limited to a handful of states, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Iowa. Across the border in Canada, the blue racer is considered one of the country's rarest snakes. The estimated population is lower than 400 individuals.

During their active season, from April to October, blue racers are often found in semi-open landscapes such as savannahs, grasslands, fields, and open woodlands. When winter arrives, these snakes seek refuge in communal hibernation sites, ranging from burrows to rock crevasses. 

According to Discover Wildlife they are diurnal hunters, which means they hunt and feed during the day, not at night. Their neonates (newborns) feed on insects, and adults consume a more varied diet, including rodents and small birds. The species is generally not at risk, but some regions list it as threatened due to habitat loss. 

2. Blue-Lipped Sea Krait

Blue lipped sea krait. Bramadi Arya//CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The blue-lipped sea krait (Laticauda laticaudata) is a marine snake primarily found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. These snakes are often seen near coral reefs. Regarding size, male blue-lipped sea kraits typically measure around 36 inches. Females, on the other hand, are slightly larger. They average about 42 inches. The snake's name, "blue-lipped," is derived from the 19 blue bands that adorn its body, although it's worth noting that its upper lip is actually brown.

It is interesting that this snake spends a considerable amount of time on land, which leads some researchers to classify it as amphibious or semi-aquatic rather than a "true" sea snake. As for its hunting habits, they mainly feed on eels and small fish in shallow waters and coral reefs but do so primarily at night. It seeks refuge on land during the daytime to stay safe from predators. Despite their potent venom, they are generally not aggressive and pose a low risk to humans. 

3. Blue-Striped Garter Snake

Bluestripe Garter Snake slithering on sand

Blue-striped garter Snake slithering on sand.

As a subspecies of the common garter snake, the blue-striped garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis similis) shares the dark gray base color common to most garters. But there is something that sets them apart: their stripes - which appear as though they've been meticulously drawn on with a blue highlighter. An interesting fact about this snake is that this subspecies has a rather limited habitat.

It's confined to the Gulf Coast of Florida - specifically from Apalachee Bay to Tampa Bay. In terms of size, they are not known for being particularly large. They generally reach lengths of 18 to 26 inches. They prefer moist environments like marshes and wetlands, and their diet consists primarily of amphibians, small fish, and invertebrates. While not venomous, their saliva contains mild toxins that can immobilize small prey.

4. California Red-Sided Garter

California red sided garter in water hunting prey

California red-sided garter in its aquatic habitat in Northern California. Jaden Clark/CC BY 4.0.

The California red-sided garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis) is native to California and is often found near water bodies like coastal dunes and marshes. In terms of size, these snakes can range from 18 to 55 inches, which makes them medium-sized reptiles. Their striking red body (adorned with blue stripes) adds to their visual allure.

Its diet includes a variety of prey, such as fish, amphibians, and insects. Like other garter snakes, this species is not venomous but has mild toxins in its saliva to help subdue prey. 

5. Blue Malaysian Coral Snake

Blue Malaysian coral snake

Blue Malaysian coral snake.

The Malaysian blue coral snake (Calliophis bivirgatus), native to Southeast Asia, is a visually stunning species with a vibrant red head and tail. Its back is dark blue, usually with a large blue or white stripe on each flank. This medium-sized snake can grow up to 1.8 meters (5 feet 11 inches) in length and has a very slender body. 

Geographically, their range extends to countries like Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Burma. They live in forested areas and jungles and primarily feed on other snakes, including venomous species. Their venom is highly potent and can cause severe paralysis, although encounters with humans are rare. 

6. Rock Rattlesnake

Rock rattlesnake curled up on leaves

Rock rattlesnake. Benjamin Davidson/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Which snake is known for its blue-grey coloration? – It's the rock rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus). This snake species blends seamlessly into its rocky surroundings. It is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, inhabiting rocky terrains and desert cliffs. Their diet mainly consists of small mammals, lizards, and occasionally birds. 

They typically measure between 23 to 27 inches in length. While they may not be the largest snakes you'll encounter, their venom potency more than makes up for their size. The venom is highly toxic and can be fatal if not treated promptly.

7. Blue Phase Common Tree Snake

Blue phase common tree snake

Blue phase common tree snake hanging in a tree.

The blue-phase common tree snake ( Dendrelaphis punctulatus) is an arboreal species  common in  Australia's northern tropics and eastern regions, especially in areas abundant with trees, long grass, and lush vegetation near water sources. While their body color can vary from green to olive-green and even black, something else captures the most attention - their blue phase.

These snakes can grow up to an impressive 5.4 feet in length. Although they do possess a primitive venom apparatus, the venom is only mildly toxic. They feed on small reptiles, frogs, and occasionally small mammals, so they pose no threat to humans. Phew! No danger for us!

8. Bluestripe Ribbon Snake

Bluestripe Ribbon Snake

Bluestripe Ribbon Snake coiled in sand.

Characterized by its slender body and distinctive blue stripes, the bluestripe ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus nitae) occurs throughout Florida. It's commonly found near shallow aquatic habitats like streams, marshes and ponds, where they feed on small fish, frogs, and salamanders.

Regarding size, these snakes are generally smaller than other ribbon snake species. They typically measure between 18 to 25 inches in length. While non-venomous, they have mild toxins in their saliva to help subdue and overpower prey. 

9. White-Lipped Island Pit Viper

white lipped island pit viper snake, trimeresurus insularis, venomous snakes

White lipped island pit viper snake coiled in a tree.

The white-lipped island pit viper (Trimeresurus albolabris insularis) is a striking venomous snake with a blue-green body and contrasting white lips. These vipers are most prevalent across the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia. In terms of size, males are generally smaller. They reach lengths of up to 24 inches, while females can grow up to 32 inches.

The white-lipped island pit viper is a highly adaptable species - it thrives in a range of environments, from shrublands and rural gardens to forests. They are nocturnal creatures, most active at night when they primarily feed on birds, frogs, and small mammals. During daylight hours, they are often found resting in trees. 

Their venom is hemotoxic, which affects the blood and tissues and can be dangerous if not treated immediately. Ouch! They've gained a reputation as aggressive predators because they often choose to confront rather than flee. This behavior has made them a frequent cause of venomous bites - particularly in the streets of Bali.

10. High Blue Green Tree Python

Blue green tree python on a branch

Blue green tree python.

The high blue-green tree python (Morelia viridis) is a fascinating, non-venomous species native to regions like Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. It mainly feeds on small mammals and occasionally indulges in birds.

This python is a tropical rainforest dweller predominantly found in low montane and lowland rainforest regions. It primarily feeds on small mammals and occasionally indulges in birds. Regarding size, these pythons can grow to lengths ranging from 4.9 to 5.9 feet. 

What is fascinating about them is that their hatchlings display various colors - red, yellow, or blue - and gradually transition to their vivid green hue as they mature. A true arboreal species, the high blue-green tree python spends most of its life in the trees. 

11. Malabar Pit Viper

Malabar Pit Viper

The striking blue hues of a Malabar Pit Viper.

The Malabar pit viper (Trimeresurus malabaricus) is a colorful snake featuring a mix of teal, brown, black, and white. Native to the Western Ghats in India, it thrives in a variety of moist forests (be it evergreen or deciduous) and inhabits multiple locations -ranging from the ground to low vegetation and even shrubs. It's primarily a nocturnal creature. That is why it spends days in relative inactivity, often seen basking on rocks or trees near streams. 

Size-wise, this snake can grow up to an impressive 3.5 feet in length. They are equipped with heat-sensing pits on their head. These allow them to detect prey effectively. Its diet consists of small mammals, birds, and occasionally frogs.

12. Side-Striped Palm Pit Viper

Side-Striped Palm Pit Viper

Side-Striped Palm Pit Viper.

The side-striped palm pit viper (Bothriechis lateralisis) is a venomous reptile with a greenish-blue body and yellow stripes. It's found primarily in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama - this snake usually inhabits tropical rainforests.

Adults can grow quite large, even exceeding 39 inches in some cases. They typically range between 24 to 27 inches, though. This nocturnal hunter preys on small mammals, birds, frogs and bats. 

13. Vietnamese Blue Beauty Snake

Vietnamese Blue Beauty Snake

Vietnamese Blue Beauty Snake. Credit Kbnreptiles.

The Vietnamese blue beauty snake (Orthriophis taeniurus callicyanous) is a captivating, non-venomous species with a pale grayish-blue body accented by sapphire, black, and white. Its native range extends to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. 

It is a pretty sizable creature ranging from 6 to 7 feet long. This snake is remarkably adaptable. It can be found in various environments, anywhere from agricultural fields to the depths of thick jungles. It mainly feeds on small mammals and birds. 

The Role of Color in Snake Behavior

The color blue is not just a fascinating aesthetic feature in snakes. It also plays a significant role in their behavior and survival. Blue coloration can serve as camouflage, which allows these snakes to blend seamlessly into their aquatic or forested environments.

In some species, the blue hue can also warn potential predators - signaling that the snake is venomous. Additionally, the color may play a role in thermoregulation. How? Well, the answer is that darker colors can absorb more heat. Understanding the function of color in these snakes provides valuable insights into their ecology and behavior.

Blue Wonders All Around the World

We have now concluded our journey through the fascinating world of blue snakes. We've explored their unique features, habitats, and roles in the ecosystem. As we marvel at their beauty, let's also commit to their conservation to ensure these magnificent creatures thrive for generations to come.