Boiga ceylonensis

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Sri Lanka cat snake
Specimen from the Western Ghats
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Boiga
Species: B. ceylonensis
Binomial name
Boiga ceylonensis
(Günther, 1858)

Dipsadomorphus ceylonensis Günther, 1858
Dipsas ceylonensis Günther, 1864
Dipsadomorphus ceylonensis Boulenger, 1896
Boiga ceylonensis Smith, 1943

Boiga ceylonensis (Sri Lanka cat snake) is a species of colubrid snake found in Sri Lanka and the Western Ghats of India.[1]


This species is part of a confusing complex that has not been fully examined using modern techniques. This Western Ghats specimen could belong to this species.
Note the interstices on the flanks
This particular specimen was found crossing the road at twilight
B. ceylonensis in a threat display

The species can be identified from other members of the genus Boiga by the following scalation and taxonomic characters. The anterior palatine and mandibular teeth are not any larger than those at the posterior positions. The eye is shorter than the snout. The rostral scale is broader than deep, the internasals are shorter than the prefrontals. The frontal scale is longer than its distance from the end of the snout and a little shorter than the parietals. The loreal is square and deeper than long, one or two preoculars reach the upper surface of the head. There are two postoculars, the temporals are small 2+3 or 3+3. There are 8 upper labials with the third, fourth and fifth touching the eye. There are 4 lower labials in contact with the anterior chin-shields and are shorter than the posterior. Scales in 19 or 21 rows, not very oblique ; scales along the vertebral row much enlarged, and at mid body nearly as broad as long. Ventrals scutes 214-249 ; the anals are undivided, subcaudals 90-117.[2]

The colour is brown or greyish above, with a series of blackish transverse spots or bands ; nape with a blackish blotch, or three blackish longitudinal streaks, or a transverse bar ; a more or less distinct brown streak from the eye to the angle of the mouth ; lower parts yellowish, dotted with brown, usually with a lateral series of brown spots.[2]

They are about 4 feet long from tip to tip with the tail 10 inches.

They are found in the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka.

Interaction with humans[edit]

This snake frequently ventures into human dwellings in search of prey such as gecko. It has somewhat aggressive disposition and boldly strikes out when disturbed or cornered.[3] This snake is known as Nidi mapila[4] by the Sinhala speaking community of Sri Lanka.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boiga ceylonensis at the Reptile Database. Accessed 28 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b Boulenger, George A. 1890 The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London. p. 359
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  4. ^


  • Günther, A. 1858 Catalogue of Colubrine snakes of the British Museum. London, I - XVI, 1 - 281
  • Wall, Frank 1921 Ophidia Taprobanica or the Snakes of Ceylon. Colombo Mus. (H. R. Cottle, govt. printer), Colombo. xxii, 581 pages