Forsten's Cat Snake ( Boiga forsteni Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 )

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Scientific Name: 
Boiga forsteni (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854)
Regional Names: 
ಫಾರ್ಸ್ಟನ್ ಬೆಕ್ಕಿನ ಹಾವು
Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
Distributed throughout the peninsular India and touches Northern India. Not found in North-east states after northern parts of West Bengal (its rare and very restricted in this state); also not found in Indian islands and deserts. Also found in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Identified by checking larger size than other Boiga species, patternless head and light color cross bars in zig-zag manner. Usually identified by checking larger size than other Boiga species, patternless head and light color cross bars in zig-zag manner. 


Average length- 100cm.
Maximum length- 230cm.

Dorsal -
Laterally flattened long body. Scales smooth, long shaped and obliquely arranged. Top dosral scales along the vertebra larger than side scales. Dorsal color variable and number of variations seen in patterns also. Usually two most common ground color grayish and brown found in most of its range. Also found in light or dark grayish, reddish-orange. Black, white or yellowish cross bars in zig zag manner starts from neck to posterior body where they become faint but visible. In some specimens dorsal body totally patternless.

Ventral -
Belly color white, yellow or yellowish-brown; with or without blackish patches 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 may be lighter than side and patternless. Large eyes bears vertical pupil.

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

8-11 supralabials; 3rd to 5th or 4th to 6th in contact with eyes; 1 preocular; 1 loreal; 2 postocular; temporal 3+3 or 3+4.
Scales smooth with 25/27: 27/29/31: 17/15 oblique rows.
254-273; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
102-119 (131); paired.
Choose heights for roosting and foraging. Remain hidden in tree holes, caves, piles, dense vegetation at height during day time. Found in variety of dense forests having undisturbed vegetation of hills and plains both. It is one common but rarely seen snake of Saal forests of India.
Natural History: 
Activity nocturnal and arboreal. Locomotion moderate. Can be seen from early night to early morning. Behavior shy, elusive and usually non-offensive. On threatening throws much of fore body into tight loops with head above the ground, puff its neck and hiss to frighten its enemy. Gives regular mock attacks to maintain safe distance. Oviparous. Lays up to 10 eggs in tree hole, cracks etc in summers.
Feeds equally on lizards, birds, rodents, frogs, other snakes, eggs etc.
Threats includes killing due to confusion & misidentification with venomous species like Vipers due to triangular head and vertical pupil. More threats are destruction habitat and road kills.
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