Thai National Parks

Reptiles of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Black-headed cat snake

Thai: งูต้องไฟ, ngu tong fai

Binomial name: Boiga nigriceps, Albert Charles Lewis Günther, 1863

The black-headed cat snake (Boiga nigriceps) gets its name from the greenish to blackish colouration of its head. Neonates and juveniles do not exhibit this dark colour on the head until adulthood. The body colour ranges from brown to orange and red to black. The ventrals are yellowish below the neck and white for the rest. They are large snakes; adults may attain a total length of 1.7 m frac=2. They are quite aggressive and hardy in nature.


Indonesia, Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand


The black-headed cat snake is arboreal, but frequently comes down to the ground in search of prey. They occupy lowland and mid-elevation tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia.


The black-headed cat snake feeds on lizards, frogs, birds, small mammals and other snakes in the wild.

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Scientific classification

Boiga nigriceps

Common names

  • German: Schwarzköpfige Nachtbaumnatter
  • English:
    • Black-headed cat snake
    • Red cat snake
  • Thai: งูต้องไฟ, ngu tong fai


  • Boiga nigriceps brevicauda, Malcolm Arthur Smith, 1926

    Range: Indonesia (Siberut, Sipora)

  • Boiga nigriceps nigriceps, Albert Charles Lewis Günther, 1863

    Range: Thailand, China (Guangxi), Indonesia, Malaysia


  • Boiga nigriceps brevicaudata, Nikolai L. Orlov & Sergei A. Ryabov (2002)
  • Boiga nigriceps, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Boiga nigriceps, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Boiga nigriceps, Michael Wilmer Forbes Tweedie (1950)
  • Boiga nigriceps brevicauda, Malcolm Arthur Smith (1926)
  • Dipsadomorphus nigriceps, Franz Werner (1913)
  • Boiga nigriceps, Thomas Barbour (1912)
  • Dipsadomorphus nigriceps, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
  • Dipsas hoffmanseggii, Wilhelm Karl Hartwich Peters (1867)
  • Dipsas nigriceps, Albert Charles Lewis Günther (1863)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Boiga nigriceps

Boiga nigriceps

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Boiga nigriceps (young)

Boiga nigriceps (young)

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Thai National Parks

Distribution map of Black-headed cat snake, Boiga nigriceps in Thailand

Range map of Boiga nigriceps 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, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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