The Complete Guide to Snake Prevention, Treatment and Control in Singapore

snake guide singapore

Snakes are one of the most common reptiles that we may encounter in our daily lives. Despite having no limbs, snakes can slither with smooth and agile movements. In Singapore, encounters with snakes are not rare. There are frequent news reports on snake presence in Singapore.

Snakes are kept as pets by people in other parts of the world, but it is illegal to keep snakes in Singapore. Although snake enthusiasts may find their pets alluring, snakes can be fearsome to some people, especially those who have had bad experiences with snakes. One of the reasons that cause people to be afraid of snakes is their ability to deliver fatal bites. However, not all snake bites are dangerous. There are plenty of non-venomous snake species.

Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus)

The reticulated python is the longest snake in the world. It can reach over 8 meters. Reticulated pythons have a distinct, alternating, consistent zigzag pattern of black, yellow, brown, and white scales. It is non-venomous and feeds mainly on small mammals, rodents, and birds.

Although the reticulated python is non-venomous, it has the strength and length to constrict its prey before feeding on it. It is nocturnal, meaning that the reticulated python is primarily active at night. In addition, it can be found in a wide range of habitats from low land to highland, forests, mangroves, and drain canals. In Singapore, pythons are commonly found inhabiting urban areas such as drains and canals.

King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)

The king cobra is notoriously known as the world’s largest venomous snake with an average of 3 meters in length. King cobras can be found in varying colours but are mainly in shades of light brown to dark brown and even black with a pale-yellow tint.

King Cobras are diurnal as they usually hunt during the day. Their diet consists of other snakes, rodents, and lizards. King Cobras are shy and retreating. However, they can be aggressive when provoked or cornered. Thus, one should never try to confront King Cobras to avoid getting fatal bites.

Black Spitting Cobra (Naja sumatrana)

The Black Spitting Cobra is also known as the Equatorial Spitting Cobra. As the name suggests, the black spitting cobra can contract its venom gland to spit venom onto its target, mainly aiming for the eyes. The venom can cause severe damage to the eyes and their surrounding areas, and may cause blindness if left untreated. The Black Spitting Cobra diet consists of rodents and amphibians. It is active at night, and prefers cooler places like shelters, drains, and garden walls.

The 6 Common Snakes in Singapore

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Oriental Whip Snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

The oriental whip snake is a fairly small and lanky snake. Its appearance can range from light brown to bright green, and its coloration allows it to blend in with vegetation. Oriental whip snakes can grow up to approximately 2 meters in length. They feed on birds, lizards, and frogs with the help of their venom. As the venom is usually relatively weak, oriental whip snakes are not problematic to humans. Oriental whip snakes are active during the day and are typically seen amongst low-hanging trees or tangled between vines in forested areas.

Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

The banded krait is one of the more prominently patterned snakes with black and white stripes from head to tail. It feeds mainly on other snakes as well as animals such as rodents, lizards, cats, and fish. Banded krait is nocturnal and can be found in forested areas near rodent holes, termite mounds, and places close to water. This species should always only be spotted from afar and not approached, as it is venomous and may bite if threatened.

Banded Malayan Coral Snake (Calliophis intestinalis)

The banded Malayan coral snake has an average size of 40 to 60cm in length. It can be distinguished by its bright red tail and reddish stripe along the length on the top side of the body. Banded Malayan coral snakes feed on other snakes and are active at night, commonly found in forests, parks, and gardens. Although a banded Malayan coral snake may look small and attractive, its venom is potent, so one should never try to approach it.

Did you know facts about snakes

Life Cycle and Biology

Depending on the species, snakes can live more than 20 years, with the larger ones having a longer lifespan than the smaller ones. Snakes are born in eggs. There are two types of egg births known: 

  • Oviparity
  • Ovoviviparity 

Most snakes are oviparous, meaning that they lay their eggs outside their bodies, and young snakes will hatch from the eggs. Ovoviviparous snakes also produce eggs, but they keep the eggs inside their bodies during incubation. The newly hatched snakes will look like they were born directly from the mothers’ body.

Although snakes are legless reptiles, not all legless reptiles are snakes. For example, lizards only have front or back limbs or are completely legless. All snakes are predators, but only a portion of them are venomous. Even a smaller fraction of snakes are capable of inflicting lethal bites.

Interesting fact: Snakes can't chew their food, so they have to swallow it whole (even items up to 10 times bigger than the size of their head).

Medical Importance

One reason that causes the fear of snakes is a snakes’ ability to inflict lethal bites. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO): 

  • There are over 3000 species of snakes in the world 
  • 600 snake species are venomous 
  • Over 200 species of venomous snakes are considered to be medically important 

These medically important venomous snakes can cause injury, disability, and even death. The symptoms associated with snake bites vary depending on the type of snake. 

Symptoms include:  

  • Puncture wounds or bite marks on the skin  
  • Redness, swelling, bruising, blistering, or bleeding around the bite
  • Severe pain and tenderness
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches, and blurred vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate, weak pulse, low blood pressure
  • Metallic, mint, or rubber taste in the mouth
  • Increased salivation and sweating
  • Numbness or tingling around the face and/or limbs
  • Muscle twitching
signs of snake infestations

Signs of Snake Infestations

1. Shed skin

Snakes shed their skin as they grow. The discarded skins may be found in places where snakes rest. This is one of the most apparent signs of snake infestations. While it may be fine to spot one around your house, you should be concerned if you see snakes frequently.

2. Slither tracks

Snakes have a unique movement known as slithering. As they slither, they leave behind distinct tracks on the dusty or sandy ground.

3. Droppings

The faeces of snakes are another important sign of a snake infestation. Snakes’ faeces may resemble birds’ droppings as they are liquid and contain urine, or they may be in a solid form that contains undigested pieces of their food, such as bones and hairs.

4. Strange noises

Although snakes are silent and do not vocalise, they may make noises as they move through cluttered areas and touch other objects. The sounds of slithering and falling objects may be a sign of a snake infestation.

tips to get rid of snakes

How to Prevent Snakes from Invading Your Home

1. Remove piles of rocks, wood, and debris

Piles of rocks, wood and debris serve as the hiding places of snakes and their prey. Maintain good housekeeping and keep your house free from debris to help prevent infestations of snakes.

Clutters and piles of debris provide ideal hiding and breeding sites for animals such as rodents, which serve as a food source for snakes. Snakes can also seek shelter among the clutter as they provide protection from predators and harsh weather conditions.

2. Clear trash and food waste

Although snakes are predators and do not feed on human food waste, food waste attracts pests like rodents. Rodents, in turn, are food sources of snakes. Waste bins should be covered. Food waste should be properly disposed of to prevent rodents from gaining access to the food, as this can cause rodent infestations, and subsequently, snake infestations.

3. Keep the grass short

Not only does grass attract mosquitoes, but it also attracts snakes. Long grass provides the perfect cover for snakes to hide from their predators and sneak up to their prey. Snakes are found in a variety of colours and patterns that they use as camouflage. The presence of long grass further facilitates snakes to blend in with the surroundings.

4. Seal cracks and crevices

Cracks and crevices are the hiding spots for pests, including snakes. Cracks and crevices provide shelter for snakes and protect them from threats present in the surrounding environment. Snakes can also enter your house from the surroundings through cracks or holes. Do look out for all potential entry points, cracks and crevices around your home. Make sure to seal them to avoid harbouring snakes and other pests in your house.

DIY Methods to Prevent Snakes in Singapore

Instead of trying out various methods to repel snakes, you can try to maintain good housekeeping around your house to keep snakes away from you. Sealing all the potential entry points and hiding sites mentioned above will help to prevent snakes from entering your home.

DIY Methods to Prevent Snakes in Singapore

Instead of trying out various methods to repel snakes, you can try to maintain good housekeeping around your house to keep snakes away from you. Sealing all the potential entry points and hiding sites mentioned above will help to prevent snakes from entering your home.

Professional Snake Removal in Singapore

Snakes can be aggressive when provoked or frightened, so you should never attempt to approach them when you see a snake. Avoid confronting or attacking a snake with a stick or broom as it may still be able to injure you. If you ever get bitten by a snake, it is important to try to stay calm and seek immediate medical attention.

You might have probably seen someone sucking out snake venom from a victim in a movie scene. However, in reality, it is almost impossible to suck the venom out as it spreads quickly and efficiently in the lymphatic system. The best thing to do if you ever get bitten by snakes is to minimise movement and call a doctor or an ambulance immediately.

In short, handling snakes on your own is not a good idea. Seeking help from professionals is the right way. Here, at Killem Pest, our Pest Management Professionals (PMP) are specially trained and licensed to carry out the removal of snakes.

With the recent enforcement of the Wildlife Act in Singapore, special courses and training were prepared for people involved who deal with wildlife removal activities. Our PMPs have attended the training and are certified professionals who can remove wildlife if needed, including snakes. Our professionals also advise you on the dos and don’ts when encountering a snake.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are 7 species native to Singapore that are considered highly poisonous: the King Cobra, Black Spitting Cobra, the Banded Krait, Banded Coral Snake, the Malayan Blue Coral Snake, and the Wagler’s Pit Viper.

Venomous snakes can be identified by the shape of their head: a triangular head is a sign that a snake is venomous. If its tail is rattling, it’s venomous. In any case, it’s best to stay away from any snakes.

Snakes are often attracted to yards and houses when there’s food or shelter for them. This can include leaf piles, gaps or cracks in your house, composting near the house, or else. Feeding pets outside, birdfeeders, or mulch can also draw snakes to your yard.