Vietnam’s monsoon forests and jungles are world-famous for their rich biodiversity. Vietnam is home to almost 1000 different bird species, close to 500 species of reptiles, 275 different amphibians, and nearly 300 different mammal species! But what about snakes? Are there snakes in Vietnam?
There are over 210 snake species found in Vietnam. Around a quarter of the species are venomous. These include the notorious king cobra, pit vipers, and kraits. Snakes are particularly prevalent during the warm summer months (May to August), especially near rivers and dense vegetation.
Related: Are There Alligators Or Crocodiles In Vietnam?
Are Snakes Common In Vietnam?
If the last paragraph of this article sent a cold shiver down your spine, take a deep breath, and keep reading. Going on a summertime trip to Vietnam doesn’t guarantee a run-in with a deadly snake!
While snakes are fairly common in Vietnam, many travelers to the country come and go without ever seeing a snake. It is extremely rare for tourists in Vietnam to be bitten by a snake.
Snakes see human beings as a threat. When they hear our footsteps, they quickly get out of the way or hide. Even though snakes are very common in Vietnam, it is rare to see them, especially in urban areas.
If you are a snake enthusiast and want to visit Vietnam to see snakes, you will actively need to go searching for them. Vietnamese snakes (and snakes in general) are very shy.
Does Vietnam Have Venomous Snakes?
Vietnam is home to over 210 species of snakes, and of these, about a quarter are venomous. There are around 60 species of venomous snakes in Vietnam!
Vietnam’s venomous snakes are divided into four main families:
- Elapidae – cobras, kraits, and coral snakes
- Crotalidae – pit vipers
- Viperidae – vipers
- Hydrophiidae – sea snakes
The most noteworthy species of venomous snakes in Vietnam are:
- Malayan pit viper – this snake’s body color can vary from reddish to pale brown or greyish. They have dark brown triangular spots down their length. The snout is pointy and upturned.
- White-lipped tree viper – a slender, green snake with two yellow stripes running down its length. As their name suggests, they are mainly found in trees and bushes.
- Monocled cobra – identified by the O-shaped pattern on their hood. These snakes vary in color from yellow to olive, brown, grey, or blackish.
- Indochinese spitting cobra – this snake’s body color can vary from grey to brown to black. They have white stripes or spots.
- Malayan krait – they can easily be identified by their black (or dark brown) and white stripes
- King cobra – this snake has olive-colored skin, with black and white banding down the length of the body. They grow very large, reaching well over 10 feet in length. Young king cobras have a yellow and black/dark brown chevron pattern.
Are There Pythons In Vietnam?
Reticulated pythons are native to Southeast Asia and can be found in Vietnam. They are the largest snake species in Vietnam!
Pythons are not considered venomous. Instead of injecting their prey with venom, they wrap their bodies around the victim and squeeze them to death.
Do not worry about an attack from a giant reticulated python while you’re visiting Vietnam! These snakes are very elusive and do not see humans as prey.
You would need to visit a reptile or snake park to see a reticulated python in Vietnam.
Are There Anacondas In Vietnam?
Don’t stress about running into the biggest snake in the world while you are exploring the beautiful jungles of Vietnam! Anacondas do not live in Vietnam because they are native to South America.
Are Snakebites A Problem In Vietnam?
Snakebite statistics in Vietnam are difficult to come by because, very often, bites are not reported, and the Ministry of Health has no database of recorded snakebites. The approximate figure for the number of snakebites in Vietnam per year is 30 000.
Because of how many venomous snakes there are in Vietnam, snakebites tend to have a very high mortality rate. For every million people, around 80 die from snakebites every year.
Snakebites are a serious problem in Vietnam, but almost all of them happen to rice farmers in rural areas. It is very rare for tourists in Vietnam to be bitten by a snake.
As the population of Vietnam grows and urban areas spread, the overlap between snakes’ natural habitat and where humans work and live is growing.
It is, therefore, expected that incidences of snakebites will become more and more frequent in Vietnam, especially in agricultural areas.
Can You Get Treated For A Snakebite In Vietnam?
In the extremely unlikely instance that you do get bitten by a snake while in Vietnam, you can be treated at a hospital. Hospitals in larger centers of Vietnam, like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, are well-equipped to deal with venomous snake bites.
It is critically important to try to remember what the snake looked like (or take the dead snake with you to the hospital). The doctors need to know what species bit you so that they can give you the right antivenom.
How To Avoid Snakes In Vietnam
It is already very easy to avoid snakes in Vietnam due to how skittish and elusive they are. But if you are still worried about encountering a snake in Vietnam, remember these tips for how to avoid them:
- Steer clear of densely vegetated areas with bushes, bamboo, long grass, or trees.
- Avoid walking along the high-water mark at the beach. Some snakes hang around in the dry seaweed and other washed-up debris, hunting mice and insects.
- If you go hiking in a forest or jungle, carry a walking stick. The sound of the stick hitting the ground will send vibrations through the ground. Snakes feel this from a long distance and will get out of your way.
- If you go exploring around the rice paddies, wear thick hiking boots and be extra aware of snakes.