15 Types of Yellow Snakes

In the animal kingdom, yellow and other bright colors are often used as a threatening display to warn off predators. Indeed, yellow is among the top “warning colors” alongside red and orange. We often notice this color in venomous snake species like vipers and kraits.

However, not all yellow snakes are dangerous. Many species are, in fact, harmless to humans. Whether you’re a fan of big, venomous snakes or prefer docile species, you can still find a colorful snake to your liking. Keep reading to discover fifteen yellow snake species of various sizes, temperaments, and care levels.

1. Albino Ball Python

albino ball python

  • Other common names: Royal Python
  • Scientific name: Python regius
  • Origin: Western and Central Africa
  • Habitat: Grasslands, savannas, sparsely wooded forests
  • Lifespan: 15-30 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: Up to 6 feet
  • Temperament: Calm and docile

Ball pythons are the most popular pet snake in the world. They’re typically black with pale bellies and light brown blotches on their backs. Albino morphs have pale backs and bellies. The dorsal side is covered in bright yellow spots. These are stocky-looking snakes with smooth scales, thin necks, and small heads.

Ball pythons get their name from their peculiar defense strategy. When threatened, a Ball python is unlikely to bite. Instead, it coils its body into a ball, hiding its head and neck from predators. They’ll display the same behavior in captivity, which makes them easy to handle without risking injuries.

Despite their considerable size, these snakes are calm and docile around humans. They rarely bite and spend most of their time hiding in burrows. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular among reptile enthusiasts. Albino Ball pythons are always in high demand, and most specimens on the market are captive-bred and thus easy to keep.

2. Yellow Corn Snake

Yellow Corn Snake

  • Scientific name: Pantherophis guttatus
  • Origin: Southeast and Central USA
  • Habitat: Forest openings, flatwoods, overgrown fields, human farms
  • Lifespan: 15-23 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: 2-6 feet
  • Temperament: Calm and docile

The Ball python is the most beloved pet snake, but Corn snakes are a very close competitor for the first place. Since they’re so popular, Corn snakes have been heavily genetically modified through selective breeding and hybridization.

There are nearly three dozen different color, pattern, and compound morphs. You can find yellow corn snakes in multiple morphs, including Candy-cane, Reverse Okeetee, Caramel, Snow, and Butter. These morphs all differ slightly in the shade and intensity of their yellow tones, as well as their body patterns.

Besides the wide diversity of morphs, corn snakes are appreciated for their lovely personalities. These snakes are extremely docile, curious, and intelligent. They’re unlikely to bite you or soil themselves when taken out of the enclosure. They’re also easy to hand-train and enjoy handling even for prolonged periods.

3. Eastern Rat Snake

Eastern Rat Snake

  • Other common names: Everglades Rat Snake, Pilot Snake, Yellow Rat Snake
  • Scientific name: Pantherophis alleghaniensis
  • Origin: East and Southeast USA
  • Habitat: Wetlands, hardwood forests, farmlands, isolated urban woodlots
  • Lifespan: 10-20 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: 3-6 feet
  • Temperament: Shy and docile

The Eastern Rat snake naturally occurs in Florida, Georgia, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North and South Carolina. These snakes are typically jet black with dark yellow bellies. However, eastern rat snakes in Florida are deep yellow.

The yellow rat snakes in Florida belong to the Pantherophis alleghaniensis subspecies “quadrivittata.” Their body is a dark, rich yellow, covered in thin, dark vertical stripes. These snakes can reach a considerable size of up to 6 feet and have slim bodies and small heads.

Eastern rat snakes are highly adaptable and make good pets thanks to their easy-going nature and simple requirements. However, rat snakes need a diverse habitat as they’re known to climb, burrow, soak, and hide in shaded places.

They’re classified as constrictors, so they’re unlikely to bite even when hunting for prey. Rat snakes will freeze, shake their tails, or coil themselves into a defensive position when threatened.

4. Military Ground Snake

Military Ground Snake

  • Other common names: Cobra-d’água, Cobra-lisa (in Portuguese)
  • Scientific name: Erythrolamprus miliaris
  • Origin: South American continent
  • Habitat: Tropical rainforests
  • Lifespan: Not known
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: Up to 20 inches
  • Temperament: Not known

This snake is very small but has a stout-looking body. It’s usually a dark brownish or greenish-yellow color on the back. Its scales are smooth and black-lined. The dorsal colors vary depending on the sub-species, but all military ground snakes have golden tones and uniform yellow bellies.

Several sub-species exist, including Erythrolamprus miliaris amazonicus, Erythrolamprus miliaris chrysostomus, Erythrolamprus miliaris merremi, Erythrolamprus miliaris miliaris, and Erythrolamprus miliaris orinus. The differences in size and appearance between them are minimal.

The Military Ground Snake isn’t commonly held as a pet. This means that they’re both very difficult to find and quite expensive. All specimens you’ll find are probably wild-caught. There’s little information about their lifespan or behavior in captivity. But they’re very small and non-venomous, so they might be a good option for snake enthusiasts.

5. Mangrove Snake

Mangrove Snake

  • Other common names: Gold-Ringed Cat Snake
  • Scientific name: Boiga dendrophila
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Habitat: Lowland rainforests
  • Lifespan: 12-17 years
  • Venom: Mildly cytotoxic venom; can cause localized swelling but isn’t life-threatening
  • Adult size: 6-7 feet
  • Temperament: Nervous and potentially aggressive

The Mangrove snake is a real beauty. This large snake has a strong, muscular body, an elongated snout, and lustrous black dorsal scales. Its back is jet black and covered in contrasting yellow transverse bands. The throat is also yellow. The shade of yellow is unique thanks to its richness and intensity.

There are nine subspecies of Boiga dendrophila identified to date, and they include melanota, dendrophila, levitoni, and occidentalis, among others. Of these, Boiga dendrophila melanota is the one you’ll most commonly see in pictures when googling this snake.

This snake is coveted by many reptile keepers but is a challenging pet. Mangrove snakes are infamous for their aggressive behavior. They’re easily threatened and quick to attack. Even captive-bred specimens aren’t that fond of handling. Its venomous bite can also cause extreme pain and swelling.

6. California Kingsnake

California Kingsnake

  • Scientific name: Lampropeltis californiae
  • Origin: Western USA
  • Habitat: Shrublands, grasslands, marshes, deserts
  • Lifespan: Up to 20 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: 5-3.5 feet
  • Temperament: Calm and docile

The California Kingsnake is another popular pet in the hobby thanks to its manageable size and docile temperament. This medium-sized snake has a slim body, a small snout, and smooth scales. Wild snakes have dark-colored bodies ranging from brown to black.

The dorsal side might be covered in either bands or longitudinal stripes. The stripes are either bright yellow or a light cream-yellow color. These snakes have been available in the reptile hobby for a while, so various morphs have already been created.

Albino California Kingsnakes are the most sought-after. These snakes look identical to their wild counterparts but lack the dark body pigmentation. They’re pink and covered in light cream stripes. As pets, they’re calm and easy to care for. Both wild and captive-bred specimens are unlikely to bite if properly handled.

The California Kingsnake’s first stress response is to coil its body into a ball and rattle its tail. If pushed beyond this point, the snake might bite. Regular wild-type morphs are illegal to sell under California law. But alternative morphs such as albinos are exempt from this law.

7. Western Shovelnose Snake

Western Shovelnose Snake

  • Scientific name: Sonora occipitalis
  • Origin: Southwest USA
  • Habitat: Loose sandy areas and rocky hillsides
  • Lifespan: 15-18 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: 10-17 inches
  • Temperament: Calm and docile

The western shovelnose snake is the smallest one on this list. An adult specimen can be as small as 10 inches. This thin and tiny snake can coil comfortably in your palm. As its name suggests, the shovelnose snake has a flattened, sloped snout. Its shape resembles a shovel. This head shape helps this snake bury into the ground or sand with ease.

Western shovelnose snakes have yellow or light cream bodies and smooth scales. They’re covered in dark bands, which might be saddle-like or wrapped around the body. Some specimens also have orange or red bands interspersed in between.

Western shovelnose snakes are excellent pets and very easy to keep. They’re used to sandy areas with sparse vegetation, so their setup is quite simple. In the enclosure, the snake is mostly dormant throughout the day. It mostly lies around, hidden in the sand.

It also has quite a simple diet consisting of insects, larvae, and invertebrates like spiders and scorpions. This snake is shy and non-aggressive. When scared, it will either bury itself in the sand or coil into a ball. It’s very unlikely for this species to bite.

8. Eyelash Pit Viper

Eyelash Pit Viper

  • Other common names: Eyelash Viper, Schlegel’s Viper, Eyelash Snake, Horned Palm Viper
  • Scientific name: Bothriechis schlegelii
  • Origin: Central and Southern American continent
  • Habitat: Low-altitude tropical areas with dense vegetation
  • Lifespan: 16 years or more
  • Venom: Highly hemotoxic venom; one bite can cause intense pain, bleeding, swelling, blood thinning, tissue necrosis, and even death, depending on the quantity of venom injected
  • Adult size: 22-32 inches
  • Temperament: Calm and typically non-aggressive around humans

Eyelash pit vipers are quite small but make up for their appearance in many other ways. Despite its size, the eyelash pit viper has a strong, muscular body. This snake is covered in rough, keeled scales and has modified spine-like protrusions above its eyes. Like other venomous snakes, pit vipers have triangular heads, powerful jaws, and vertical pupils.

This snake comes in many different colors. The deep, bright yellow morph is the most common. A yellow pit viper might be a pure block color or covered in small dark spots. Other naturally-occurring color morphs include brown, green, red, pink, and any combination thereof.

As a pet, the eyelash pit viper enjoys a stable level of popularity despite its dangerous venom. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to find captive-bred specimens for sale. In captivity, this snake is quite hardy and adapts easily to new diets and living conditions. It’s calm and reserved around humans. Pit vipers are unlikely to bite unless they feel stressed or threatened.

9. Green Tree Python (Juveniles)

Green Tree Python Juvenile

  • Scientific name: Morelia viridis
  • Origin: New Guinea and Cape York Peninsula in Australia
  • Habitat: Rainforests
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: Up to 6.6 feet
  • Temperament: Nervous and typically aggressive

As you might’ve guessed from the name, this tree python is green. However, juveniles of this species come in two color morphs. Young green tree pythons might be either brick red or bright yellow. When freshly hatched, most juveniles are either fully yellow or lemon-yellow.

When the snake is about one year old (roughly 23 inches long), the color starts shifting into a bright green. The color transition takes 5-10 days on average. The young specimens you see for sale online will almost always be yellow. However, know that the color will change as the snake matures.

Besides the intense coloration, this snake stands out for its slim body, long tail, and large head. This snake is a popular pet choice for reptile lovers but not a beginner-friendly species. Green tree pythons have unique requirements and need plenty of climbing spots to express their arboreal behavior. These snakes are also easily irritable and quick to bite.

10. Amethystine Python

Scrub Python

  • Other common names: Scrub Python
  • Scientific name: Simalia amethistina
  • Origin: Indonesia and Papua New Guinea
  • Habitat: Scrublands and rainforests
  • Lifespan: Up to 20 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: Up to 18 feet
  • Temperament: Very aggressive

The Amethystine python (or Scrub python for short) is among the largest snakes in the world by both length and weight. Many documented specimens measure 18 feet or more. But some reports state this snake can grow up to 20 feet! An adult snake might also weigh as much as 60-66 lbs. Of course, these are the upper ranges.

On average, adult specimens measure 10-14 feet long and weigh 10-15 pounds. This snake has a strong yet slender body, a large blunt snout, and flat but sharply-delineated scales. It has a dirty yellow ground color and dark, irregular geometrical patterns on its dorsal side. The semi-smooth skin texture creates a pale, iridescent purple sheen when the light bounces off the scales.

Scrub pythons are medium-difficulty pets. They’re quite challenging to accommodate and feed due to their large size. These snakes also have a bad reputation for being grumpy and hot-tempered. They won’t hesitate to bite you if something sets them off. Luckily these snakes aren’t venomous, so their bite represents a minimal threat.

11. Reticulated Python

yellow Reticulated Python

  • Scientific name: Malayopython reticulatus
  • Origin: South and Southeast Asia
  • Habitat: Rainforests, grasslands, woodlands, areas nearby lakes, rivers, and streams
  • Lifespan: 12-20 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: 10-20 feet
  • Temperament: Calm but potentially aggressive

The reticulated python is the largest snake in the world. The average adult size ranges between 4’11’’ and 21’4’’, but the largest specimen ever recorded was 32’9.5’’ long! Reticulated pythons may weigh between 3 and 166 pounds, depending on the snake’s age, sex, and total body size.

These snakes have smooth scales and a dense, muscular build. This species is popular thanks to its striking size and complex reticulated dorsal pattern. Reticulated pythons come in many color morphs, especially captive-bred specimens.

Wild snakes can be a base brown, dark yellow, or dirty green color. Thanks to selective breeding, we also have golden platinum phantom pythons, blonde super tiger pythons, and albino golden child pythons. And these are just the golden snakes. You can also find reticulated python morphs in white, pink, brown, and rainbow sheen.

This isn’t a beginner-friendly pet. Reticulated pythons need a huge space, and they’re difficult to feed. These snakes are mostly calm and unlikely to bite. However, they can be unpredictable and are among the few snake species that prey on humans. Their large bodies and powerful constriction make them dangerous for inexperienced keepers.

12. Jamaican Boa

yellow boa

  • Other common names: Yellow Snake
  • Scientific name: Chilabothrus subflavus
  • Origin: Jamaica
  • Habitat: Humid limestone forests
  • Lifespan: 24-30 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: Up to 6 feet 7 inches
  • Temperament: Calm and mostly docile

The Jamaican boa has a stout body, smooth scales, and a medium-sized snout. It’s also colloquially known as the “yellow snake,” thanks to its rich golden tones. The head and upper body are deep yellow with interspersed black zigzag bands. Towards the lower half of the body, the snake’s skin becomes progressively darker, creating a gradient effect.

As a pet, this snake is quite low-maintenance and docile when handled properly. Jamaican boas are calm and mostly passive around humans. It’s unlikely to bite you unless it feels threatened or isn’t used to frequent interaction. Like all boas, this snake is non-venomous. It relies mostly on restriction when hunting or defending itself.

Although, in theory, a good pet, the Jamaican boa isn’t that popular in the reptile hobby. Part of the reason is the dwindling wild population of snakes. This species is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. However, you do sometimes find captive-bred specimens for sale.

13. Albino Burmese Python

Albino Burmese Python

  • Scientific name: Python bivittatus
  • Origin: South and Southeast Asia
  • Habitat: Swamps, marshes, river valleys, grasslands, woodlands, rocky foothills
  • Lifespan: Up to 20 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: Up to 16 feet
  • Temperament: Calm and mostly docile

The Burmese python is a large, stout snake. It has smooth scales, a small head, and an elongated snout. Wild specimens are typically dark in color, ranging from light to deep brown. This species has a light-tinted reticulated pattern boarded by thin dark margins.

Captive-bred specimens come in various color morphs, and the albino variety is the most popular. This morph is a bright yellow base color with an off-white reticulated pattern on its dorsal side. Another beautiful but less widely-available yellow morph is the caramel Burmese python. This snake has a deeper orange-yellow body color and a pale-yellow reticulated pattern.

Burmese pythons are popular as pets thanks to their beauty and easy-going nature. These huge snakes have very powerful bites and constriction. They’re capable of inflicting severe wounds. However, they’re mostly docile and passive around humans. Still, they’re high-maintenance and require a very large living space and large amounts of food.

14. Western Hognose Snake

Western Hognose Snake

  • Other common names: Blow Snake, Faux Viper, Plains Hognose Snake, Spreadhead Snake, Texas Rooter
  • Scientific name: Heterodon nasicus
  • Origin: North American continent
  • Habitat: Prairies, semi-deserts, scrub and grasslands, river floodplains
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Venom: Nonvenomous
  • Adult size: 15-20 inches
  • Temperament: Shy and docile

The western hognose has an atypical appearance that even the staunchest snake haters might find endearing. This small snake has a stout body, a small, rounded head, and a very short, upturned snout. The tiny skull shape contributes to this snake’s innocent, wide-eyed look.

It has a rough skin texture thanks to its semi-keeled scales. Wild specimens come in various colors, depending on the sub-species and geographical location. They commonly display earthy tones like cream, brown, and dirty greens and yellows. The dorsal side is covered in a dark, rattlesnake-like pattern.

The western hognose’s popularity is soaring thanks to its adorable appearance and ease of care. There are currently over 50 morphs to choose from, including a variety of yellow ones. Yellow morphs include albino, jaguar, caramel, toffeeconda, and toffeeglow hognoses.

These snakes make excellent pets for people of all ages and experience levels. They’re small and highly adaptable. Most importantly, they’re the most peaceful species you could find. They’re shy, docile, and virtually never bite. When threatened, they’ll either flatten their necks, hiss or use mock attacks to scare away predators. In some cases, they might also play dead.

15. Banded Krait

Banded Krait

  • Scientific name: Bungarus fasciatus
  • Origin: Southeast Asia, India, and Southern China
  • Habitat: Open plains, forests, agricultural lands, areas close to water and rodent burrows
  • Lifespan: Around 13 years
  • Venom: Highly neurotoxic venom; potentially deadly to humans and may cause moderate to severe paralysis and respiratory failure
  • Adult size: Up to 8 feet 10 inches
  • Temperament: Shy and mostly docile

The banded krait is a colorful, attention-grabbing snake. It’s on the larger side and has a short tail and a somewhat slender body. Its head is broad and not very well defined; it blends in easily with the rest of the body. The scales are smooth and clearly delineated.

The most striking thing about the banded krait is its sharp contrasting coloration. This snake’s body is covered in alternating black and bright yellow bands. The head is black, while the throat, chin, and lips are yellow.

The banded krait has a powerful bite, and its venom is very toxic. However, this snake is shy and usually non-confrontational around humans. When threatened, the first defense response is coiling and hiding its head. Banded kraits are also slow-moving, even when attacking in self-defense.

They aren’t popular as pets. These snakes are large and require a complex setup. Their natural diet is also largely based on smaller snakes, so it’s difficult to replicate in captivity. If you find some specimens for sale, they’re probably wild-caught.


Yellow is a rare, exotic color we rarely see in snakes. We often associate it with venomous species native to recluse tropical areas. It’s true that many dangerous snakes ironically display this cheerful color. You can see yellow morphs in species like the eyelash pit viper, banded krait, Jamaican boa, various pythons, and mangrove snakes.

However, many docile snakes can also sport bright warning colors. Peaceful yellow snakes include albino ball pythons, California kingsnakes, yellow corn snakes, eastern rat snakes, western shovelnoses, and western hognose snakes. As you can see, there’s a colorful snake out there for any reptile keeper!

Robert from ReptileJam

Hey, I'm Robert, and I have a true passion for reptiles that began when I was just 10 years old. My parents bought me my first pet snake as a birthday present, which sparked my interest in learning more about them. read more...