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Blue Malayan Coral Snake: Characteristics, Diet, Facts & More [Fact Sheet]

Welcome to this fact sheet about the striking Blue Malayan Coral Snake (Calliophis bivirgatus), a fascinating creature renowned for its vibrant coloration and elusive nature.

This species of coral snake boasts a unique blend of beauty and mystery, making it a subject of intrigue among herpetologists and wildlife enthusiasts.

This article aims to shed light on the behavior, diet, and conservation status of this species, along with other interesting tidbits that make it stand out in the animal kingdom.

The Blue Malayan Coral Snake at a Glance


Class:Reptilia (Reptiles)
Species:C. bivirgatus

Essential Information

Average Size:3.9 – 4.9 feet (1.2 – 1.5 meters)
Average Weight:4 – 7 oz (113 – 198 grams)
Average Lifespan:15 – 20 years
Geographical Range:Southeast Asia
Conservation Status:Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

Species and Subspecies

The term “Blue Malayan Coral Snake”, or simply “Blue Coral Snake” refers specifically to Calliophis bivirgatus, and there are no distinct subspecies recognized under this name.

However, the snake is part of the larger group of Asian coral snakes within the Calliophis genus. Members of this genus exhibit variations in color, pattern, and venom potency, but the Blue Malayan Coral Snake stands out due to its remarkable coloration and preferred habitats.

Blue_Malayan_Coral_Snake_from_SingaporeSource: Wikimedia Commons


The Blue Malayan Coral Snake is a visually stunning reptile, characterized by its deep blue body and vibrant red head. The contrast between these colors makes for easy identification, but the snake’s elusive nature often keeps it hidden from view.

The body is elongated and slender, well-adapted for navigating through the undergrowth and tight spaces in its habitat. The snake’s head is relatively small and not easily distinguishable from its neck.

In terms of anatomy, this species is equipped with highly potent venom, delivered through small, fixed fangs at the front of the upper jaw. These fangs are efficient for injecting venom deep into prey.

There is little sexual dimorphism observed in this species, meaning that males and females look quite similar to each other. However, females may be slightly larger than males.

Habitat and Distribution

The Blue Malayan Coral Snake is predominantly found in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

These snakes are generally found in lowland rainforests but can adapt to a range of habitats, from coastal mangroves to hill forests. They are mostly ground-dwellers but are also capable of climbing trees and shrubs.

Blue_Malayan_coral_snake_in_SarawakSource: Wikimedia Commons


Generally, Blue Malayan Coral Snakes are nocturnal, coming out after dark to hunt for their prey. They are solitary animals, not known to form any social groups. When threatened, these snakes adopt a unique defensive posture by flattening their bodies and hiding their heads underneath their coils, displaying their vibrant colors as a warning to predators.

Communication in these snakes is not well-studied but like many snake species, they likely use pheromones for mating and possibly other social interactions. Vocalization is absent, but they may produce hissing sounds when threatened.

Other interesting behavioral aspects include their burrowing tendencies. These snakes are known to spend a lot of time hidden in the leaf litter or soil, especially during the day.

Diet and Hunting/Feeding Behavior

The Blue Malayan Coral Snake is a carnivore, with a diet largely consisting of other small snakes and sometimes lizards. Its venom, a neurotoxin, is highly potent and effective at immobilizing prey swiftly.

The snake relies on ambush tactics for hunting. It remains hidden until a suitable prey comes along, then strikes quickly, injecting its venom and then waiting for the prey to succumb before consumption.


Despite its venomous bite and warning coloration, the Blue Malayan Coral Snake is not without natural predators. Larger snake species, birds of prey, and some mammals can pose a threat to this snake.

Juvenile snakes are particularly vulnerable to predation. However, the snake’s bright coloration serves as a warning to potential predators about its venomous nature, which offers some level of protection.

Blue_Malayan_coral_snakeSource: Budak via Flickr

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Blue Malayan Coral Snakes are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs rather than giving birth to live young. The mating season is not well-documented but is believed to be influenced by the availability of food and the climate.

Females lay a clutch of eggs and then leave them to incubate. The eggs are often hidden in leaf litter or soft soil. The young are born fully developed, and already armed with venom for hunting.

The lifespan of a Blue Malayan Coral Snake in the wild can vary but is generally around 10-15 years. This can be longer in captivity where there are fewer threats and a more stable food supply.

Conservation and Threats

The Blue Malayan Coral Snake is currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This suggests that, for now, the species is not facing immediate extinction risks. However, like many other species of wildlife, the Blue Malayan Coral Snake is susceptible to habitat loss due to human activities such as logging and agriculture.

There are no specific conservation programs solely dedicated to this species, but its habitat benefits from broader environmental protections and wildlife conservation initiatives that aim to preserve biodiversity in tropical forests. Local awareness programs also help in educating the public about the snake and its role in the ecosystem, discouraging unnecessary killing of the snake due to fear.

Fun Facts

  1. The Blue Malayan Coral Snake’s bright blue stripes act as a warning to predators about its venomous bite.
  2. Unlike many other snake species, Blue Malayan Coral Snakes specialize in eating other snakes.
  3. The snake has a reclusive nature and is generally hard to spot in the wild, making it somewhat of a ‘phantom’ among herpetologists.
  4. Despite its venomous bite, there are very few recorded incidents of this snake causing human fatalities.
  5. The species has a specialized venom that is a subject of study for potential medical applications, including pain management and neurological research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Blue Malayan Coral Snake venomous?

Yes, it is venomous and possesses a potent neurotoxin. However, bites are extremely rare.

What do blue coral snakes eat?

They primarily eat other small snakes and occasionally lizards.

Is the blue coral snake dangerous to humans?

While venomous, it is generally shy and reclusive, avoiding human contact when possible. Bites are rare but can be serious if they occur.

Where can the blue coral snake be found?

The snake is native to parts of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, where it inhabits tropical forests.

Are blue coral snakes endangered?

It is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List, meaning it is not immediately threatened with extinction.

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