Collared Cat Snake ( Boiga nuchalis Günther, 1875 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Boiga nuchalis (Günther, 1875)
Regional Names: 
Kannada: 
ಕತ್ತುಪಟ್ಟೆ ಬೆಕ್ಕಿನ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Full Body Shot
Distribution: 
In India its distribution range is rainforests of central (up to as north as Agumbe, Karnataka which is probably its northernmost limit) and southern parts of Western Ghats.
Venom Type: 
Neurotoxic
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

B. nuchalis can be identified by checking 21(23) mid body rows which are always 19 in other two similar looking species.

Description: 

Average length- 90cm.
Maximum length- Approx 120cm.

Dorsal -
Laterally flattened long body. Scales smooth, long shaped and obliquely arranged. Top dosral scales along the vertebra larger than side scales and of hexagonal shape. Dorsal color brown, yellowish or brown mixed with reddish. About 90-100 dark brown or dark reddish bars present in most of the dorsal surface which become faint posterior body. or cross lines found from head to tail. These markings are broadest on vertebral region.

Ventral -
Belly color cream with blackish or dark brown speckles more dense on on the outer edge of ventral scales. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner.

Head:
Head triangular with rounded edge; clearly broader than neck. Top of the head of similar to dorsal color. One black streak runs behind the eye to end of the head. Large eyes with vertical pupil.

Tail:
Long and thin tail typically like other arboreal snakes with pointed tip. Dorsal body patterns continue to tail in faint form.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 8; 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes; loreal 1; preocular 1, reaches to upper surface of head; postocular 2 or 3; temporal usually 2+3. Maxillary teeth
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales arranged obliquely in 21(23): 21(23): 15 rows rows.
Ventral: 
234-251; anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
90-108; paired.
Habitat: 
Lives in moderate to high elevations of Western Ghats mainly in evergreen and mixed deciduous forests. Lives in dense vegetation including bushes and trees of hills. Choose tree holes, dense bushes, rocks for roosting and hiding.
Natural History: 
Activity nocturnal and arboreal. Locomotion slow. Behavior shy, elusive and usually calm. On threatening throws half of fore body into loops with head on the top, sometimes jerk or flicker its tail also which is followed by mock attacks to keep distance with threatening object or animal. Oviparous. Female lays eggs during summer to most of monsoon months. New born seen during whole of monsoon.
Diet: 
Feeds mainly on lizards, birds, rodents, bats, frogs etc.
Threats: 
General threats are killing due to misidentification and road kills. As this species is restricted to Southern hills of Western Ghats, habitat destruction in its range will affect its natural population and status in future.
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