Non-Venomous Snakes in India


Non poisonous snakes

Snakes are reptiles. There are both venomous and non-venomous snakes in India. But a majority of the species found here are nonvenomous. Nonvenomous snakes don’t have teeth or sacs. They are not harmful to humanism in any way. Even though people have interests about snakes but they are more superstitious about it. Whenever we see snakes, we get scared thinking that they are poisonous. The sight of snake creates panic in the general public. But about three-quarters of Indian snakes are nonvenomous. Any snake that lacks fangs and poison gland is nonvenomous. Venomous snakes have venom sacs and teeth for self-defense and mostly reside in deep forests. Most snakes living around humans or in urban areas are nonvenomous. Let us know more about some of them.

Checkered Keelback

India’s most common nonvenomous snake is the Checkered Keelback. They are seen in almost every region in the country. They are yellow black in color and sometimes olive green. They have extraordinary marking throughout their body. They have black lines under and behind their eyes. They live close to the water, but they also like the ground. This nonvenomous snake often shows biting tendency by erecting their hood. This is a very effective self-defense mechanism for this species.

Striped Keelback

Another nonvenomous snake is the Striped Keelback. This snake is yellowish brown and has yellow spots all over its back to its tail. Their abdomens are white, but they have black or brown spots all over their body. They have black lines around their eye. They are little nonaggressive and mostly feed on rats and frogs in forests. They are very tape nonvenomous species.

Rat Snake

Other very well known species, Rat Snake, is also nonvenomous. They look very similar to cobras. This is why most people mistake them as venomous. But unlike cobras, they are not venomous and have the ability to erect their hood. There are two main species of rat snakes in India. They are usually light brown, yellowish brown or olive brown in color. Their eyes are relatively large, and their bodies are upwards of 2 meters in length. They are found all over the country on fields, farmlands, and forests. They play a vital role in controlling the population of rats.

Ornate Flying Snake

The name Kalnagini conjures up a scary image. The original name of this beautiful nonvenomous snake is Ornate Flying Snake. They are greenish yellow in color. Their black heads have yellow lines on them. Their backs have reddish black lines. They are mostly found in our deep forests.

Copper headed Trinket Snake

The grayish brown or yellowish brown Copper headed Trinket Snake is another important species. They have four black lines on their backs. But these lines end towards their tail. They can be found in all over the country.

Black-headed snake

The Black-headed snake found in our evergreen forests is also nonvenomous. The front of their head from their neck is black. This small scale snake plays a very important role in the forest ecosystem.

Vine snake

Vine snake is a thin, long green nonvenomous snake and locally known as Ladoga. It is also known as Shutanoli Sharp in Bangla. Their green color helps them with camouflage in their environment. Their long mouths are red in color. Their bite is not deadly at all.


All species of wolf snakes in India are nonvenomous. The twin spotted wolf snake is very tame and nonvenomous. Their bodies are covered with twin yellow spots. They are not very prone to bite at all. A very attractive species is the Painted Bronzeback Snake. They live on trees and branches. The ventral sides of their thin, long bodies are white. There are black lines that run from their backs of their eyes. This diurnal species is also nonvenomous. The Blind or Worm snake is one of the calmest nonvenomous species. The resemble worms, hence their name. Since their tails and heads are similar looking, they are also known as Two-Headed Snakes. They help fertilize the soil on our farmlands. The largest nonvenomous snake in India is the Python. We have three species of pythons. Their heavy and thick bodies are covered with smooth scales. They are partially tree dwellers. These diurnal snakes spend most of their day in leisure. They can easily be found in our evergreen forests.


Snakes play a vital role in maintaining ecological balance. They play an important role in the food chain by feeding on lizards, rats, and frogs. Also, snake eggs and some snakes serve as food for birds of prey and some other snake species. The tree dwellers like vine snakes and flying snakes help with pollination when they glide from tree to tree. Wherever Rat Snakes are present, venomous snakes are less likely to be around. Currently, snakes are endangered due to our misconceptions, habitat destruction, and other accidents. Some people are harming snakes for their meat, skin and use in medicines.

We need to clear the misconceptions about snakes, raise awareness and conduct further research to protect these species.  We often see these snake charmers, roaming around different regions having snake shows. This is very old practice. This is adversely affecting our snakes. These people trap snakes from different regions throughout the year to sell and use. So, when this practice goes on for years and years, it has a big effect on the populations. We need to have some regulated environments for this. We can use these charmers’ abilities and knowledge for the benefit of snakes in some way. We can direct their work towards more positive things for the snakes. We need to know the role of snakes in nature thus we should protect them. Snakes are playing important roles on all sides of our ecosystem. However, because of many campaigns and awareness programs, now we understand that we have nothing to fear and snakes don’t just attack humans. Their first instinct upon human contact is to flee. We should not kill snakes and need to do more research on them.

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