Thai National Parks

Reptiles of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Mangrove cat snake

Thai: งูปล้องทอง, ngu plong thong

Binomial name: Boiga dendrophila, Heinrich Boie, 1827

Boiga dendrophila, commonly called the mangrove snake or gold-ringed cat snake, is a species of rear-fanged colubrid. It is one of the biggest cat snake species, averaging 6–8 feet (1.8–2.4 m) in length. It is considered mildy-venomous. Although moderate envenomations resulting in intense swelling have been reported, there has never been a confirmed fatality.

Description

Snout longer than eye; rostral more broad than deep, visible from above; internasals as long as or shorter than the prae-frontals; frontal as long as or slightly shorter than its distance from the tip of the snout; loreal as long as deep or more

long; a praeocular extending to the upper surface of the head, not reaching the frontal; two postoculars; temporals 2 + 2

or 2 + 3; eight (nine) upper labials, third to fifth entering the eye; four or five lower labials in contact with the anterior

chin-shields; latter as long as or longer than the posterior; anterior palatine teeth not much larger than the posterior.

Scales in 21 (23) rows, vertebral row enlarged; ventrals 2O9-239; anal entire; subcaudals 89 no. Black above, with yellow transverse bands, continuous or not extending across the back; labials yellow, with black edges. Lower surface black or bluish, uniform or speckled with yellow; throat yellow. Total length 2310 mm.

Behavior

Mostly nocturnal, it is a potentially aggressive snake. Even captive bred specimens can be nervous and may strike repeatedly. Although many specimens will calm down and allow handling, they are normally easily stressed and may refuse food for extended periods of time if disturbed. (Handling, of course, should involve safety precautions for the handler, due to their nervous nature and the fact that a bite can cause pain and injury.)

Geographic range

Indonesia (Bangka, Belitung, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi, Riau Archipelago, Sumatra), India, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippine Islands (Panay).

Subspecies

Including the nominotypical subspecies, nine subspecies are recognized as being valid.

Nota bene: A trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Boiga.

  • Boiga dendrophila annectens – Indonesia (Kalimantan); Brunei Darussalam; East Malaysia
  • Boiga dendrophila dendrophila – Indonesia (Java); Borneo.
  • Boiga dendrophila divergens – Philippine Islands (Luzon, Polillo)
  • Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta – Indonesia (Sulawesi).
  • Boiga dendrophila latifasciata – Philippine Islands (Mindanao)
  • Boiga dendrophila levitoni – Panay (and probably other islands of the West Visayas region)
  • Boiga dendrophila melanota – S Thailand, West Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (Sumatra)
  • Boiga dendrophila multicincta – Philippine Islands (Balabac, Palawan)
  • Boiga dendrophila occidentalis – Indonesia (Babi, Batu Archipelago, Nias, Sumatra)

The subspecific name, levitoni, is in honor of American herpetologist Alan E. Leviton (born 1930).

Habitat

Despite one of its common names, mangrove snake, B. dendrophila is found more often in lowland rainforests than in the mangrove swamps from which its common name is derived.

Diet

The mangrove snake feeds on reptiles, birds, and small mammals in the wild.

Venom

The venom of mangrove snakes is not considered life-threatening to humans, and they have been kept as pets.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Suborder
Serpentes
Family
Colubridae
Genus
Boiga
Species
Boiga dendrophila

Common names

  • German: Mangroven-Nachtbaumnatter
  • English:
    • Mangrove cat snake
    • Mangrove snake
    • Gold-ringed cat snake
  • Thai:
    • งูปล้องทอง, ngu plong thong
    • งูตามธาร, ngu tam than

Subspecies

  • Boiga dendrophila annectens, George Albert Boulenger, 1896

  • Boiga dendrophila dendrophila, Friedrich Boie, 1827

  • Boiga dendrophila divergens, Edward Harrison Taylor, 1922

  • Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron, 1854

  • Boiga dendrophila latifasciata, George Albert Boulenger, 1896

  • Boiga dendrophila levitoni, Maren Gaulke, Arnold D. Demegillo & Gernot Vogel, 2005

  • Boiga dendrophila melanota, George Albert Boulenger, 1896

  • Boiga dendrophila multicincta, George Albert Boulenger, 1896

  • Boiga dendrophila occidentalis, Léo Daniël Brongersma, 1934

Synonyms

  • Boiga dendrophila, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
  • Boiga dendrophila divergens, Rafe Marion Brown (2013)
  • Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta, Mark Laita (2013)
  • Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta, Karl Patterson Schmidt (2012)
  • Boiga dendrophila divergens, David S. McLeod (2011)
  • Boiga dendrophila levitoni, Maren Gaulke (2011)
  • Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta, Thomas Cherico Wanger et al (2011)
  • Boiga dendrophila, Nguyen Van Sang et al. (2009)
  • Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta, Jelmer Groen (2008)
  • Boiga dendrophila levitoni, Maren Gaulke, Arnold D. Demegillo & Gernot Vogel (2005)
  • Boiga denrophila [sic] melanota, Andreas Gumprecht (2005)
  • Boiga denrophila sic melanota, Andreas Gumprecht (2005)
  • Boiga dendrophila annectens, Johan van Rooijen (2004)
  • Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta, Gernot Vogel (2000)
  • Boiga dendrophila latifasciata, Gernot Vogel (2000)
  • Boiga dendrophila occidentalis, Gernot Vogel (2000)
  • Boiga dendrophila melanota, Tanya Chan-Ard et al. (1999)
  • Boiga dendrophila melanota, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Boiga dendrophila, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Boiga dendrophila atra, Felix Kopstein (1936)
  • Boiga dendrophila occidentalis, Léo Daniël Brongersma (1934)
  • Boiga dendrophila melanota, Léo Daniël Brongersma (1934)
  • Naja celebensis, Christoph Gustav Ernst Ahl (1933)
  • Boiga dendrophila divergens, Edward Harrison Taylor (1922)
  • Dipsadomorphus dendrophilus, Theodorus Willem van Lidth de Jeude (1922)
  • Dipsadomorphus dendrophilus type B., Lange & Nelly de Rooij (1910)
  • Dipsadomorphus dendrophilus type. B. (melanotus BLEEKER), Schenkel (1901)
  • Dipsadomorphus dendrophilus, Werner (1900)
  • Dipsadomorphus dendrophilus var. melanotus, Oskar Boettger (1898)
  • Dipsadomorphus dendrophilus var. multicincta, Oskar Boettger (1898)
  • Boiga dendrophila annectens, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
  • Boiga dendrophila latifasciata, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
  • Boiga dendrophila melanota, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
  • Boiga dendrophila multicincta, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
  • Dipsadomorphus dendrophilus type B., George Albert Boulenger (1896)
  • Boiga dendrophila:, Edward Drinker Cope (1860)
  • Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1854)
  • Triglyphodon gemmi-cinctum, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1854)
  • Triglyphodon dendrophilum var., André Marie Constant Duméril et al. (1854)
  • Triglyphodon gemmi cinctum, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1854)
  • Dipsas dendrophila (partim), Johann Georg Wagler (1828)
  • Dipsas dendrophila, Friedrich Boie (1827)
Boiga dendrophila

Boiga dendrophila

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Thai National Parks

Boiga dendrophila

Boiga dendrophila

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Thai National Parks

Boiga dendrophila

Boiga dendrophila

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Thai National Parks

Distribution map of Mangrove cat snake, Boiga dendrophila in Thailand
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Chong
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Nan National Park
  • Khao Phanom Bencha National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khok Pho District, Pattani
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Phatthalung District, Phatthalung
  • Su-ngai Kolok (Malay: Sungai Golok) District, Narathiwat
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Ton Nga-Chang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Waeng District, Narathiwat
  • Yan Ta Khao District, Trang

Range map of Boiga dendrophila in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits and Parinya Pawangkhanant for their help with many range data.

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