The Spectacular Scales Of The Sunbeam Snake

Animals |

The sunbeam snake is an amazing species whose scales are actually iridescent. If held under a light or in the sun it becomes a living rainbow. Beyond this amazing ability, sunbeams differ from other snakes in that they prefer to be wet and a bit cooler, requiring dampness and humidity. Because of their fossorial nature, or adaptation to digging and spending most of their time underground, they like to burrow in moist dirt and stay hidden.


Sunbeam snakes are typically found in Southeast Asia, from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, east through Myanmar to southern China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Malay Peninsula and the East Indies to Sulawesi, as well as the Philippines. But this doesn’t mean they can’t be kept as pets, too. One Twitter user, Maura Hennelly, whose handle is @painthands, posted pics of her sunbeam snake, named Vespira, which means “evening star," and the Internet is obsessed.

Twitter - @painthands

Sadly, because of their scales’ incredible trick, many want them, but they’re actually one of the most difficult snakes to own. Hennelly acknowledged this, saying, "Sunbeams are a very tough species to care for… They are timid snakes and hardly ever surface.” While a lot of people would love to call a sunbeam their pet, the feeling is not exactly mutual.

Thailand Snakes

Shipping and the first six months in captivity are very stressful for them, especially considering they have little tolerance of handling. Another sunbeam lover wrote a detailed guide for exactly how to take care of them, which can be viewed here. For those who are smart enough to resist the urge to own one of these cool creatures, plenty of pictures and videos can be found online, like the one seen below...

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