There are six different species of dangerous / venomous snakes in Bali, and many more non-venomous species living on this popular tourist island of Indonesia.
However, snake worries don’t need to ruin your Bali holiday. Snakes are rarely a problem in the touristy areas of Bali, and they’re usually very reluctant to bite unless they’re grabbed or stepped on. In fact, they generally try to avoid humans to begin with.
My wife and I have lived in Bali for years and traveled all over the island (including many non-touristy areas), and we’ve only encountered one or two snakes in that time. The photos in this guide were taken with the help of a professional snake catcher in Bali.
Even though most tourists and short term visitors to Bali aren’t likely to ever see a snake, it’s still a good idea to make yourself aware of the venomous snakes of Bali and what to do if you ever encounter one of them.
This snake guide will explain how to identify the dangerous Bali snakes, what to do if you find a snake in your resort (or in the rice fields), who to contact for snake removal, and what to do if you’re bitten by a snake in Bali.
Where To Stay In Bali
How To Avoid Bali Snakes
First of all, here are a few tips to help you avoid snakes in Bali and stay safe from them:
- Respect all snakes in Bali and treat them as venomous. Leave them alone and do not touch them.
- Don’t try to catch or kill snakes. Ask a professional for help. I’ve included some contacts for snake catchers later in this article.
- Carry a bright light so you can see where you’re walking at night. You don’t want to step on a snake in the dark.
- When hiking or walking through foliage, go slowly and make yourself heard. Most of the snakes of Bali will run away when they hear a person coming.
- Ideally, wear long pants and closed toe shoes if you’ll be hiking in the jungle. Most snake bites are on extremities.
- For identification, take photos of the snake from a distance of at least 2 meters (7 feet).
- Closed bathrooms in Bali are safer than open style bathrooms if you really want to avoid snakes and other intruders.
6 Dangerous / Venomous Snakes Of Bali
• Island Pit Viper (Trimeresurus Insularis)
The Island Pit Viper is one of the most commonly seen venomous snakes in Bali, and it’s caused a fair share of bites and deaths in both Bali and Java. It can be found in all rural areas of Bali.
This snake has a triangular head and a bright green body, with a reddish brown tail. The easiest way to identify it is the tail color and the head shape, which sets it apart from similar looking non-venomous green snakes.
It’s quite a beautiful snake species, and other nice colors such as bright turquoise or banana yellow can be seen in places like the Komodo islands in Indonesia.
The green color of this snake in Bali makes it hard to see in jungle foliage and trees, which is where it usually likes to hide during the daytime before coming down to the ground at dusk to hunt.
One time I almost stepped on an Island Pit Viper while hiking in Nusa Penida island, in a less traveled part of the island with lots of foliage (this wasn’t in a popular tourist area).
My foot landed within inches of the snake, which was coiled up in the center of the path, but thankfully its head was turned away from me and it didn’t see how close my foot landed.
Bites from the Island Pit Viper can cause tissue swelling and necrosis, internal bleeding, and death. There’s no anti-venom for this snake in Bali, and people who survive bites may need to have limbs amputated.
This snake prefers to live in the trees in a tropical rainforest, but it can be found in other habitats as well. It feeds mainly on rodents, lizards, birds, and frogs, and adults usually grow to about 1/2 meter long (1.5 feet).
The local names for this snake are ‘Ular Hijau’ (Indonesian) or ‘Lipi Gadang’ (Balinese). The latter means ‘green snake.’ Treat this one with extreme caution!
• King Cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah)
The King Cobra is the biggest venomous snake in the world, growing up to 4 meters (13 feet) or longer. It’s mainly found in rural west Bali, in the provinces of Jembrana, Buleleng, and Tabanan.
When threatened, the King Cobra spreads its hood and can lift a third of its body off the ground, standing almost as tall as a person.
This snake has an olive/brown colored body with light pale diagonal stripes, and the hood is narrow, with yellow or vanilla colors on the inside.
The King Cobra is intelligent and reluctant to bite unless it’s threatened or injured. It’s a fearless snake, but still prefers to leave the scene rather than fight.
Bites from the King Cobra can quickly cause muscle paralysis, respiratory failure, and death. A King Cobra can deliver enough venom in one bite to kill 20 people, and there’s no anti-venom available for it in Bali.
This snake is mostly active during the day. It feeds almost entirely on other snakes, and can be cannibalistic as well.
The local names for this snake are ‘Ular King Kobra’ (Indonesian) or ‘Lipi Selem Bebek’ (Balinese). Treat it with extreme caution!
• Javan Spitting Cobra (Naja Sputatrix)
The Javan spitting cobra is much smaller and shorter than the King Cobra, growing to about 1.3 meters (4 feet) or less. The spitting cobra can be found in all rural areas of Bali.
Like the King Cobra, this snake also spreads its hood when it feels threatened. However, when the hood is closed, it can easily be mixed up with non-venomous snakes in Bali because of its plain brown and vanilla colors.
These Bali snakes have a very venomous bite, and they can also spit venom a distance of up to 2 meters (7 feet). If venom reaches the eyes, it will cause pain, inflammation, and potentially blindness. If you or your pet’s eyes are spit in by a cobra, the eyes should be rinsed out with running water for 30 minutes. Do not rub the eyes, as this can make it worse!
Bites from the Javan spitting cobra can cause tissue swelling and necrosis, muscle paralysis, respiratory failure, and death. However, anti-venom is available at some hospitals in Bali.
The Javan spitting cobra can be active in the daytime or at night, and it mainly likes to feed on rodents, frogs, lizards, and other snakes.
The local names for this snake are ‘Ular Sendok’ (Indonesian) or ‘Lipi Sendok’ (Balinese). The Balinese name means ‘spoon snake’ and comes from the shape of the cobra’s hood, which looks kind of like a spoon.
Like the other venomous snakes of Bali, you should treat this one with extreme caution!
• Malayan Krait (Bungarus Candidus)
The Malayan Krait is one of the most venomous snakes in Bali, but it can sometimes be mixed up with non-venomous Bali snakes when it has plain dark colors. It’s found in many rural areas of Bali.
This snake can be all black with no stripes, but in Bali it more often tends to have black and white stripes, growing to a length of about 1 meter (3 feet) or less. It likes to come out at night to hunt, and can sometimes be found wandering into houses.
Bites from the Malayan Krait can cause muscle paralysis, respiratory failure, and death. Untreated bites are mostly fatal. There’s no anti-venom available for this snake in Bali, but a bite may be survivable with assisted breathing from a ventilator.
The Malayan Krait has a peaceful disposition and it’s reluctant to bite unless provoked. It mainly likes to feed on other snakes, but it can also eat small mammals, lizards, and frogs.
The local names for this snake are ‘Ular Weling’ (Indonesian) or ‘Lipi Poleng’ (Balinese). The latter means ‘black and white snake.’ Treat it with extreme caution!
• Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda Colubrina)
Also known as the Yellow-Lipped Sea Krait, this is a venomous sea snake that can be seen on land or in the ocean. It’s common in the waters and coastal areas around Bali.
This sea snake has a yellow snout, with black and bluish/grey stripes of equal width along its entire body, and a paddle-shaped tail that helps it swim. The females are bigger than the males, and can grow up to 2 meters long (6 feet).
The Banded Sea Krait spends most of its time swimming around coral reefs in shallow waters while hunting eels and fish, but it also comes onto land to rest and lay its eggs, so you may spot one on the beach in Bali.
If you see one of these sea snakes while snorkeling or diving, give it plenty of space. They are non-aggressive and reluctant to bite, but their neurotoxic venom is very dangerous and potentially lethal.
The local name for this snake is ‘Ular Laut’ (Indonesian). Treat it with extreme caution!
• Reticulated Python (Malayopython Reticulatus)
The Reticulated Python is not venomous, but it can still be nasty. Pythons are found in all rural areas of Bali, and occasionally they turn up in town as well, usually because they’re washed into town by flooding during Indonesia’s rainy season.
Small pythons in Bali are not a threat to humans, but they can become dangerous if they get big enough for constriction (asphyxiation by squeezing). Adult pythons can be anywhere from 3 to 9 meters long (10 to 30 feet), and pythons in Bali have been caught with lengths of up to 5 meters.
If a person is being constricted and asphyxiated by a big python, the priority is getting the snake detached, ideally with assistance from several people to control the snake. Start by unwrapping the snake from the tail end first, with one person holding the snake’s head to prevent bites.
The Reticulated Python mainly comes out at night, and it’s very good at swimming and climbing trees. It feeds on mammals, lizards, and birds. The local name for this snake is ‘Ular Piton’ (Indonesian).
Bites from the Reticulated Python are non-venomous, but may cause infection, so a tetanus update and antibiotic treatment is a good idea. Big pythons in Bali (over 2.5 meters) should be treated with caution!
Are There Snakes In Bali Rice Fields?
Yes, it’s certainly possible to see snakes in Bali rice fields. However, it mostly depends which part of the island we’re talking about.
You might see a snake at the popular Jatiluwih Rice Fields or Tegalalang Rice Terrace, but it’s unlikely, and it would probably be hiding in the rice paddies and avoiding humans if so. I’ve never seen a snake in either of these places after many visits over the years.
I once saw a green snake in a rice field near Sanur, but it moved too quickly for me to identify it. So yes, there are snakes in Bali rice fields, but they usually aren’t likely to bother you as long as you don’t bother them.
Just keep an eye on where you’re walking, and you shouldn’t have any issues with any of the snakes of Bali.
Are There Snakes In Bali Resorts?
Yes, it’s possible to encounter snakes in Bali resorts or hotels, although the overall risk of that is pretty low for most tourists.
I’ve heard of people in the Ubud area finding snakes (including kraits and cobras) in their gardens, bathrooms, or living rooms, and pet dogs have had their eyes spit in by spitting cobras.
Again, these situations are fairly rare, but they do happen. It’s just part of living in Bali. That’s why it’s important to be able to identify the venomous snakes of Bali, just in case.
Thankfully, if you’re afraid of snakes and can’t handle the thought of living near them, you always have the option of staying in south Bali — places like Kuta, Seminyak, and Sanur — where most tourists are virtually guaranteed to never see a snake.
Who Can Help With Bali Snakes?
The following are some handy local contacts for dealing with snakes in Bali:
- Ron Lilley. ☎ +62 813-3849-6700. Ron is a British snake expert living in Bali. He can help with snake identification, snake removals, snakeproofing your property, and snake bite information.
- Bali Reptile Rescue. ☎ +62 821-4638-0270 or +62 856-3933-154. Local Balinese family-owned company that can help with snake removals. They also do snake education and herping tours where you can see wild snakes in Bali (more on that later).
- Dr. Tri Maharani. ☎ +62 853-3403-0409. One of Indonesia’s leading experts on snake bite treatment. If you’re bitten by a venomous snake in Bali, you can give Tri’s number to the treating doctor and she will help.
- BIMC Hospital. ☎ +62 361-761-263 or +62 811-3960-8500 (Kuta). One of Bali’s highest rated hospitals. They have locations in Kuta, Ubud, and Nusa Dua.
- Sanglah Hospital. ☎ +62 361-227-911 (15). Another hospital in Denpasar with experience treating snake bites.
Bali Snake Bites: What To Do If You’re Bit
If you or your friend has been bitten by a snake suspected of being venomous, follow these steps:
- Immediately move away from the area where the bite occurred.
- Take a photo of the snake from a safe distance if possible. Identifying the snake can help with treatment of the bite.
- The victim should stay calm and as still as possible.
- Make a note of the time when the bite happened, for future reference.
- Remove anything tight from around the bitten part of the body (such as rings or bracelets) to avoid harm if swelling occurs.
- Immobilize the person completely and transport the person to a health facility as soon as possible.
- Vomiting may occur, so place the person on their left side in the recovery position.
- Closely monitor airway and breathing and be ready to resuscitate if necessary.
Do NOT do any of the following for snake bites:
- Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it. NEVER handle a venomous snake, not even a dead one or its decapitated head.
- Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten, get medical help right away.
- Do not drive yourself to the hospital (unless you have no other choice), because people with snake bites can become dizzy or pass out.
- Do not apply a tourniquet.
- Do not slash the wound with a knife or cut it in any way.
- Do not try to suck out the venom.
- Do not apply cold or hot packs, ice, or immerse the wound in water.
- Do not give any food or water, as it might cause vomiting.
- Do not drink alcohol as a painkiller.
- Do not apply electric shock, herbal medicines, or traditional first aid methods.
Snake Bites & Deaths In Bali
For informational purposes, here are some confirmed cases of snake bites and deaths in Bali over the years:
- In 1999, Australian surfer Peter Crawford died from a snake bite in Bali. I’ve heard this was an island pit viper, but so far I can’t confirm which type of snake it was. (Source: Surfer’s Journal)
- In 2013, an Indonesian security guard at the Hyatt hotel in Sanur was killed by a 5 meter (15 foot) python. He was trying to help move the snake out of the road at night when it wrapped around his neck and strangled him. (Source: Jakarta Post)
- In 2016, a member of the Bali Reptile Rescue company was bitten by a king cobra and died at Jembrana hospital in West Bali. I Putu Agus Edi Darmawan was relocating a mother cobra and eggs for their protection when he was bitten on the finger. He was a valued member of the Bali snake community and had been doing snake rescues for 15 years at the time of his death. (Source: Tribun News)
- In 2017, an Australian woman was bitten after she stepped on a brown snake in Ubud. According to the account, she became violently ill within minutes after being bitten, and started vomiting and losing consciousness, but she was given anti-venom at an Ubud hospital and survived. (Source: Perth Now)
- In 2019, a 12 year old Balinese girl in Gianyar died after being bitten on the hand by a small black snake while sleeping (Source: Nusa Bali). According to another news article, there were 126 snake bites treated by Buleleng hospital in this year alone, which is a shocking number if true. (Source: Nusa Bali)
- In 2022, two Balinese people were bitten by snakes during Nyepi Day and treated at the hospital in Jembrana. (Source: Radar Bali)
Again, these are just a few confirmed cases of snake bites and deaths in Bali. This is far from a complete list. Most snake bites involving Balinese locals are never covered in the news, much less translated into English.
I share this information not to scare you, but to keep you safe. Again, even though my wife and I have lived in Bali for years, we rarely worry about snakes. But it’s important to understand the danger they can pose if you’re not careful.
Where To See Live Snakes In Bali
For a very authentic snake experience in Indonesia that directly benefits conservation, you can join a snake herping tour with Bali Reptile Rescue in West Bali.
Bali Reptile Rescue has night herping tours where you can spot all kinds of snakes, as well as a 2-day king cobra tour. Obviously this is not for the faint of heart, since you’ll be trekking in the jungle and potentially interacting with dangerous snakes.
We spent some time with BRR seeing the king cobra, and it was an amazing experience being so close to the king of the jungle in its natural habitat. In my opinion, the king is one of the most interesting snakes of Bali.
Best of all, the money from these tours goes towards conservation and education about snakes in Bali. BRR catches snakes in homes almost every day in Bali and releases them back into the wild, and many of these snakes would probably be killed without their help.
If you’d rather see captive snakes in Bali, one of the best places to go is the Bali Reptile Park in Gianyar (near Ubud), which has many kinds of vipers, boas, cobras, and pythons in glass aquariums.
Behind the safety of glass, you can see all of the dangerous Bali snake species at the reptile park, along with some other species from Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world.
Is There A Bali Snake Temple?
However, there are a couple of places that almost fit the bill for a Bali snake temple. The Tanah Lot temple on the coast of southwest Bali, for example, is believed to be guarded from evil spirits and intruders by venomous sea snakes lurking in the ocean waters around the temple.
On the shore near Tanah Lot, there’s a cave with a ‘holy snake’ that you can pay a small fee to see. It’s a black and white ringed sea snake (apparently a highly venomous Banded Sea Krait).
There’s also a palace near Ubud called Puri Langon, which has two big stone cobra statues with their hoods spread. You won’t see any live snakes there, but the carvings and details in the palace are nice. It’s a popular spot for Balinese traditional prewedding photos.
And of course, the Balinese wooden carved cobras have long been a popular and fun souvenir for tourists in Bali, which you can find for sale in street shops all over the island.
Bali Snakes & Reptiles FAQ
- Are there poisonous snakes in Bali?
Technically speaking, snakes in Bali are venomous, not poisonous. If something is poisonous, that means it’s toxic if you eat it or touch it (such as poison frogs). If something is venomous, that means it can inject venom with its fangs by biting. There are at least 5 common species of venomous snakes in Bali, as well as potentially other rare venomous species such as the Asian Coral Snake (Calliophis Intestinalis).
- What about non-venomous snakes in Bali?
There are dozens of non-venomous snakes in Bali, so it would be impossible to list all of the species here. The country of Indonesia has hundreds of snake species (as many as 360 species), and there are almost 50 species living on the island of Bali. The non-venomous snakes in Bali are generally not dangerous to humans.
- What are the most common types of snakes in Bali?
There’s a lot of variety, but some of the most commonly encountered types of snakes in Bali seem to be the Oriental Rat Snake, Reticulated Python, Black Copper Rat Snake, Painted Bronzeback, Javan Spitting Cobra, and Island Pit Viper. The Water Monitor Lizard (Varanus Salvator) is another common reptile in Bali.
- Are there Komodo dragons in Bali?
No, there aren’t any wild Komodo dragons in Bali, although you can see captive Komodo dragons at the Bali Bird Park or Bali Safari Marine Park. Bali does have the Water Monitor Lizard (Varanus Salvator), which is smaller than a dragon and generally not a threat to humans. If you want to see Komodo dragons, it’s best to travel to the wonderful Komodo National Park, which has direct daily flights from Bali.
- Are there spiders in Bali?
Yes, there are many kinds of spiders in Bali, but thankfully none of them are known to be dangerous to humans.
More Bali Travel Tips
Thanks for looking! I hope you were helped by this guide for identifying Bali snakes.
Don’t forget to check out my Bali Travel Guide for more tips, photos, and blog posts.
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