World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Cat Snake

Article Id: WHEBN0008956211
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cat Snake  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Boiga barnesii
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cat Snake

Mangrove Snake, Boiga dendrophila
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Boiga
Fitzinger, 1826

Boiga is a large genus of mildly venomous, opisthoglyphous or rear-fanged, colubrid snakes typically known as the cat-eyed snakes or just cat snakes. They are primarily found throughout southeast Asia, India and Australia, but due to their extremely hardy nature and adaptability have spread to many other suitable habitats around the world. There are 34 recognized species in the genus.[1]



Cat snakes are long-bodied snakes with large heads and large eyes. They vary greatly in pattern and color. Many species have banding, but some are spotted and some are solid-colored. Colors are normally black, brown, or green with white or yellow accents.


They are primarily arboreal, nocturnal snakes.


They prey on various species of lizards, small snakes, birds, and rodents.


Their venom toxicity varies from species to species, but is not generally considered to be life threatening to humans.


Boiga species are oviparous.

In captivity

Boiga dendrophila is by far the most common species in captivity, but Boiga cynea and Boiga nigriceps are also found. Nowadays,B. cynodon,B. philippina and a 'Katherine morph' B.irregularis are also circulating in the South-East Asian exotic pet trade. Others are not commonly available. They are hardy and adaptable and tend to do well in captivity after the initial period of stress from the importation process is passed. They are not bred commonly in captivity, so most specimens available are wild caught, and thus are prone to heavy internal parasite load. Adjusting them to a rodent only diet can be difficult for the inexperienced reptile keeper.

Invasive species

Boiga irregularis in particular has been federally banned in the United States because of its effect by accidentally being introduced to the island of Guam. Some time during the 1950s, these snakes (or possibly a single female with eggs) reached the island, possibly having hidden in imported plant pots. The island of Guam lacks native snakes or predators that can deal with snakes the size and aggressiveness of Boiga irregularis. As a result, they have bred unchecked as an invasive species, and began consuming the island's bird life in extreme numbers. Currently, dozens of bird species have been completely eradicated from the island, many species that were found nowhere else on earth, and the snake has reached astonishing population densities, reported to be as high as 15,000 snakes per square mile. In addition to devouring the native fauna, this species will routinely crawl into power transformers, and, unfortunately for all involved, this typically results in both an electrocuted snake and substantial blackouts.[2]


Further reading

  • Fitzinger, L.I. 1826. Neue Classification der Reptilien nach ihren natürlichen Verwandtschaften. Nebst einer Verwandtschafts-tafel und einem Verzeichnisse der Reptilien-Sammlung des k.k. zoologischen Museums zu Wien. J.G. Heubner. Vienna. five unnumbered pages + 67 pp. + one plate. (Genus Boiga, p. 60.)

External links

  • Genus The Reptile Database
  • Wild Eastern Brown Tree Snake
  • (Serpentes: Colubridae)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.