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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Reptilia
Subclassis: Diapsida
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Superfamilia: Colubroidea
Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Colubrinae
Genus: Boiga
Species: B. andamanensis - B. angulata - B. barnesii - B. beddomei - B. bengkuluensis - B. blandingii - B. bourreti - B. ceylonensis - B. cyanea - B. cynodon - B. dendrophila - B. dightoni - B. drapiezii - B. forsteni - B. gokool - B. guangxiensis - B. irregularis - B. jaspidea - B. kraepelini - B. multifasciata - B. multomaculata - B. nigriceps - B. nuchalis - B. ochracea - B. philippina - B. pulverulenta - B. quincunciata - B. ranawanei - B. saengsomi - B. schultzei - B. siamensis - B. tanahjampeana - B. trigonata - B. wallachi


Boiga Fitzinger, 1826

Type species: Coluber irregularis Bechstein, 1802, by subsequent designation (Cope, 1860: 264).


* Boiga at the New Reptile Database. Accessed on 20 August 2008.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Nachtbaumnattern
English: Cat Snakes
日本語: オオガシラ属
Türkçe: Mangrov yılanı

Boiga is a large genus of mildly venomous, 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 33 recognized species in the genus.

Mangrove snake at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

* Andaman cat snake, Boiga andamanensis (Wall, 1909)
* Leyte cat snake, Boiga angulata (Peters, 1861)
* Barnes' cat snake, Boiga barnesii (Günther, 1869)
* Beddome's cat snake, Boiga beddomei (Wall, 1909)
* Boiga bengkuluensis (Orlov, Kudryavtzev, Ryabov & Shumakov, 2003)
* Blandings tree snake, Boiga blandingii (Hallowell, 1844)
* Boiga bourreti (Tillack, Ziegler & Le Khac Quyet, 2004)
* Sri Lanka cat Snake, Boiga ceylonensis (Günther, 1858)
* green cat snake, Boiga cyanea (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854)
* dog-toothed cat snake, Boiga cynodon (Boie, 1827)
* gold-ringed cat snake or mangrove snake, Boiga dendrophila
o Boiga dendrophila annectens (Boulenger, 1896)
o Boiga dendrophila dendrophila (Boie, 1827)
o Boiga dendrophila divergens (Taylor, 1922)
o Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854)
o Boiga dendrophila latifasciata (Boulenger, 1896)
o Boiga dendrophila levitoni (Gaulke, Demegillo & Vogel, 2005)
o Boiga dendrophila melanota (Boulenger, 1896)
o Boiga dendrophila multicincta (Boulenger, 1896)
o Boiga dendrophila occidentalis (Brongersma, 1934)
* Pirmad cat snake, Boiga dightoni (Boulenger, 1894)
* white-spotted cat snake, Boiga drapiezii (Boie & Boie, 1827)
* Forsten's cat snake, Boiga forsteni (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854)
* arrowback tree snake, Boiga gokool (Gray, 1835)
* Boiga guangxiensis (Wen, 1998)
* brown tree snake, Boiga irregularis (Merrem, 1802)
* jasper cat snake, Boiga jaspidea (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854)
* Kelung cat snake, Boiga kraepelini (Stejneger, 1902)
* many-banded tree snake, Boiga multifasciata (Blyth, 1861)
* many-spotted cat snake, Boiga multomaculata (Boie, 1827)
* black-headed cat snake, Boiga nigriceps (Günther, 1863)
* Boiga nuchalis (Günther, 1875)
* tawny cat snake, Boiga ochracea (Günther, 1868)
* Philippine cat snake, Boiga philippina (Peters, 1867)
* Fischer's cat snake, Boiga pulverulenta (Fischer, 1856)
* Boiga quincunciata (Wall, 1908)
* banded cat snake , Boiga saengsomi (Nutafand, 1985)
* Schultz's blunt-headed tree snake Boiga schultzei (Taylor, 1923)
* gray cat snake, Boiga siamensis (Nootpand, 1971)
* Boiga tanahjampeana (Orlov & Ryabov, 2002)
* Indian gamma snake, Boiga trigonata
o Boiga trigonata trigonata (Schneider, 1802)
o Boiga trigonata melanocephala (Annandale, 1904)
* Nicobar cat snake, Boiga wallachi (Das, 1998)
* Ranawana's golden cat snake, Boiga ranawanei (Samarawickrama, Samarawickrama, Wijesena & Orlov, 2006 (2005))

Description & Behaviour

Cat snakes are typically thin, 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 that prey on various species of lizards, 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. 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.


* Genus Boiga at The Reptile Database

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