Common Cat Snake ( Boiga trigonata Schneider, 1802 )

  • Sharebar
Scientific Name: 
Boiga trigonata (Schneider, 1802)
Regional Names: 
Indian Gamma Snake, Cat-eyed Snake
ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಬೆಕ್ಕಿನ ಹಾವು
બિલ્લી સાપ
Kar Saap
All over the country excluding North-east states after Sikkim; also not found in Indian islands.
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be identified by checking triangular head, broader than neck, Y shaped light color mark on top of the head, vertical pupil, brown dorCan be identified by checking triangular head broader than neck, Y shaped light color mark on the top of head, verticle pupil, brown dorsal marked with black & white irregular markings. sal marked with black & white irregular markings. 


Average length- 70cm.
Maximum length- 125cm.

Dorsal -
Medium length, thin and laterally flattened body. Scales smooth and long in shape; top dosral scales are larger than side scales. Dorsal colour grayish-brown with black, dark brown and white markings in a zigzag manner. These patterns may be in dense form according to regional morphology.

Ventral -
Belly color white or yellow with dark brown or blackish spots on the each edge of many scales. Subcaudal scales paired in a zig-zag manner.

Head -
Head triangular with rounded edges; clearly broader than neck. The head has more shiny scales than dorsal area. An specific marking of "Y" or Gamma shaped marking is present at the top of head which starts from the middle of eyes and cover the posterior region of upper lips. Large brown colored eyes have vertical pupil, these give appearance of Cat's eyes and so the name Cat snake.

Tail -
Long and thin tail typically like other tree snakes with a pointed tip. Dorsal body patterns found in faint form or may be absent.

8 supralabials; 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes; 1 preocular; loreal 1; postocular 2.
Scales smooth in 21: 21: 15 rows.
206-256; anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
75-96; paired.
Remain hidden in tree holes, caves, piles, dense vegetation, cracks at low to moderate heights. Lives both in dense and open forests of hills and plains; also found in undisturbed gardens, rocky hills, scrubs etc.
Natural History: 
Common Cat Snake is a nocturnal species and shows activity from early night to early morning. Locomotions slow. Behaviour shy, elusive and usually calm. On threatening throws half of fore body into loops with head on the top, sometimes jerk its tail also which is followed by mock attacks to keep distance with threatening object or animal. Oviparous. Female lays upto 10 eggs in tree holes, under the rocks, holes etc from summer to most of the monsoon.
Feeds mainly on lizards. Also feeds on frogs, small rodents, small birds, other snakes.
Threats includes killing due to confusion & misidentification with venomous species like Vipers due to its triangular head and verticle pupil. More threats are destruction habitat like wide range of vegetation and road kills.
Look Alike