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7 Fascinating Facts About Large Whip Snakes

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The large whip snake is a species of non-venomous colubrid snake found in parts of Asia. These slender, fast-moving snakes can grow over 2 meters long and have some interesting traits that make them remarkable reptiles.


Whip snakes get their name from their slender bodies and whip-like movements as they cruise through their environments. Of all the whip snake species, the large whip snake (Psammophis condanarus) is one of the most impressive.

Found in parts of South and Southeast Asia, large whip snakes inhabit various ecosystems from forests to farmland. Their slender build allows them to climb trees and fit into tight spaces while hunting prey or avoiding predators.

Read on to learn 7 fascinating facts about these agile serpents:

1. They Have Excellent Vision

Unlike some snake species that rely heavily on sensing heat and chemical cues to hunt, the large whip snake has excellent eyesight.

Its large eyes with round pupils give it sharp vision to spot potential prey from a distance. Whip snakes even have good depth perception compared to other snakes.

Their great vision allows whip snakes to expertly chase and capture fast-moving animals like birds, frogs, and lizards.

2. They Are Blazing Fast

If its prey tries to get away, the large whip snake can move at speeds over 11 mph (nearly 18 kph) to chase it down. This is over three times faster than the average person can run!

Whip snakes achieve these fast speeds via their streamlined, slender bodies and smooth scales that reduce friction against surfaces. Their powerful muscles swiftly propel them forward to nab their prey.

3. Whip Snakes Are Skilled Climbers

Thanks to their slender builds, whip snakes can climb narrow branches and vines with ease to access food sources like bird nests and tree-dwelling lizards.

  • Their elongated bodies allow them to bridge gaps between vegetation and reach precarious spots other predators cannot.
  • Their smooth underbellies let them grip and slide across branches.
  • Their large eyes also assist with depth and distance perception when climbing.

4. They Employ Clever Hunting Techniques

When hunting prey, large whip snakes utilize some clever tricks:

  • They may wiggle their tails to mimic worms or caterpillars to lure curious birds and lizards closer.
  • They can also perform bluff charges toward their prey, halting abruptly to startle them for an easier catch.
  • At other times, they stealthily move through vegetation and ambush prey as it passes by.

5. Whip Snakes Are Opportunistic Eaters

Large whip snakes will eat any meat they can swallow whole, showing themselves to be opportunistic hunters. Their diet includes:

  • Small mammals like rats and mice
  • Birds and eggs
  • Lizards
  • Frogs and toads
  • Large insects
  • Other snakes

They use their flexible jaws to swallow their prey whole, even consuming other snakes longer than themselves!

6. They Utilize Mimicry As Defense

To avoid becoming prey themselves, large whip snakes have color patterns that serve as a defense mechanism. Their olive green to brown colors and blotchy bands mimic venomous vipers that predators tend to avoid.

This form of Batesian mimicry helps the non-venomous whip snakes trick predators into thinking they could be dangerous vipers. Potential predators may then leave these snakes alone, allowing the whip snakes to go about their business safely.

7. Whip Snakes Make Use of Venomous Snake Burrows

A rather clever bit of resourcefulness – whip snakes will often share burrows with venomous snakes, likely as an additional form of defense.

Potential predators that come across an occupied snake burrow may assume venomous snakes reside inside and leave the area, allowing the whip snake to rest undisturbed. This lets whip snakes safely reuse burrows without having to dig lengthy tunnels themselves.


With their slender builds, sharp vision, speed, climbing skill, clever hunting tactics, diverse diets, defensive mimicry, and resourceful use of burrows, large whip snakes have adapted well to their environments.

Their fascinating traits let these snakes effectively chase prey while avoiding becoming prey themselves. These agile, opportunistic serpents are truly remarkable reptiles perfectly suited to their natural habitats.

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