Forsten's Cat Snake

Boiga forsteni


Identification

Largest of Cat snake species. Body long, smooth scaled and laterally flattened. Eye with vertical pupil. The species have two color forms 1) Reddish and 2) Grayish. Body patterns varies considerably; reddish-brown or grayish back with pale yellowish markings, forebody possesses angular grayish brown, blotches or bands that are interspersed with white patches. Hind body has same colored checkered patterns. In all forms head has dark mid stripe joined by two additional stripe marks in neck region. One stripe on either side goes from eye to behind mouth. White pale lip scales are separated by dark lines. Underside generally whitish. Strongly marked ones may show brown or black spotted belly scales.

 

Length: 5.10ft.to maximum 7.07ft

Scalation

Scales in 25 or 27:27, 29 or 31:17 or 15 oblique rows. Vertebrals feebly or strongly enlarged. Ventrals 254-273 with distinct lateral keel; anal entire; subcaudals 102-119 (131), paired. Preocular 1, touching top of head; postoculars 2; temporal 3+3 or 3+4; supralabials 8-11 (3rd to 5th or 4th to 6th touching eye).

Habitat and Reproduction

Lives in tree holes, abandoned nests, and tangles of leaves on branches. This largest cat snake, feeds on lizards, birds, bats, and other small mammals. The species is oviparous. Female lays eggs in clutch of 5- 10 in April to May.

Bite and Venom

Mildly venomous, not seriously affect humans. When alarmed they coiled the forebody and hisses and vibrates tail.

Distribution:

Forsten’s cat snake distribution pattern is patchy in India. Nocturnal in nature and limited to dense vegetation and forests. Individuals of these species are first time recorded from Achanakmar Tiger reserve, Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve and Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary of Chhattisgarh. Species has also records from Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Threats

 

Myths about this snake species is that if someone comes in contact with this snake, then their skin get rotten. Apart from this deforestation and loss of habitat also poses serious threats to the species.


Important Tags


Forstenâs Cat SnakeColubridae Boiga forsteni

Name
Forsten's Cat Snake
Family
Colubridae
Scientific Name
Boiga forsteni
Synonymes
Foresten's manjra, Chingraj
Venom Type
Other/NO
Look Like
Common cat snake, Saw scaled viper



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