(A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1844)
Adult females can be up to 10 feet (3.05 metres), males are typically smaller, the average size of the population is 8 feet (2.44 m) in length. This is the largest snake species found on the island of Madagascar. Acrantophis madagascariensis, like others in the family, dispatch their prey by constriction.
The color pattern consists of a pale reddish-brown ground color mixed with gray, overlaid with a pattern dorsal rhombs outlined with black or brown. Sometimes this creates a vague zigzag impression. The sides are patterned a series of black ovoid markings with reddish blotches, often bordered or centered with white.
Acrantophis madagascariensis is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species since 2011. Previously it was classified as Vulnerable (VU) with the following criteria: A1cd (v2.3, 1994). This means that a population reduction of at least 20% has been observed, estimated, inferred or suspected over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat, and based on actual or potential levels of exploitation. Year assessed: 2006. It is also listed as CITES Appendix I, which identifies it as threatened with extinction and recommends a prohibition in international trade except for scientific research.
Current threats include deforestation, human population growth, agricultural and industrial development, and collection for the illegal pet trade.
Shelters in mammal burrows, fallen trees, debris piles and similar sites that offer some protection. Hibernation takes place during the cool and dry winter months, usually May though July.
The diet consists of small mammals and birds.
Mating takes place after emerging from hibernation. Females may be courted by and copulate with more than one male. Ovoviviparous, females give birth to 4-6 large young after a long gestation period of 4-6 months. Neonates are 19-24 inches (48-61 cm) in length and are already capable of feeding on small rodents and birds.
- McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
- The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
- Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
- "Acrantophis madagascariensis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Acrantophis madagascariensis at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 10 July 2008.
- 1994 Categories & Criteria (version 2.3) at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 10 July 2008.
- Acrantophis madagascariensis at CITES and United Nations Environment Programme / World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Accessed 10 July 2008.
- Boulenger GA. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families ... , Boidæ, ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I-XXVIII. (Boa madagascariensis, p. 120).
- Duméril A-M-C, Bibron G. 1844. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire naturelle complète des Reptiles. Tome sixième. Paris: Roret. xii + 609 pp. (Pelophilus madagascariensis, pp. 524-527). (in French).
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