Boiga forsteni

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Boiga forsteni
Forsten's Cat Snake At Yala.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Boiga
Species: B. forsteni
Binomial name
Boiga forsteni
(A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854)
Boiga forsteni distribution.png
  • Triglyphodon forsteni A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854
  • Dipsas forsteni Jan, 1863
  • Dipsadomorphus forsteni
    Boulenger, 1896
  • Boiga forsteni M.A. Smith, 1943[1]

Boiga forsteni, commonly known as Forsten's cat snake, is a species of mildly venomous rear-fanged colubrid endemic to South Asia.

Geographic range[edit]

Boiga forstenii is found in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India (Sikkim, Maharashtra, Kerala).


The specific name, forstenii, is in honor of Dutch naturalist Eltio Alegondas Forsten (1811–1843).[2]


See snake scales for terms used

The anterior palatine and mandibular teeth are considerably larger than the others. The eye is about as long as its distance from the nostril.

The rostral scale is broader than it is deep and the internasals are much shorter than the prefrontals. The frontal is nearly as long as its distance from the end of the snout, which is shorter than the parietal scales. The loreal is square or deeper than it is long. There is one preocular scale, extending to the upper surface of the head, and two or three postoculars. The temporal scales are very small and numerous. There are eight to eleven upper labials, with the third, fourth and fifth, or the fourth fifth and sixth entering the eye. There are three or four lower labials, in contact with the anterior chin shields, which are about as long as the posterior. The ventral scales are 259 to 270, the anal entire and the subcaudals 106 to 131.

The body is laterally compressed. The dorsal scales are in 25 or 27 rows at midbody, disposed obliquely, and the vertebral row is feebly enlarged. It is brown above, with more or less regular angular black crossbars, with or without white spots between them. There is a black band from the frontal shield to the nape and another on each side behind the eye. The lower parts are white, uniform or spotted with brown.

The longest specimen examined by Boulenger in 1890 had a total length of 4 feet 10 inches (1.47 m), including a tail which was 1 ft (30 cm) long.[3] According to Das (2002) maximum snout to vent length (SVL) is 2.3 m (7.5 ft).[4]


The preferred habitats of B. forsteni are lowland forests and agricultural areas.[4]


B. forsteni is nocturnal and arboreal.[4]


B. forsteni preys on lizards, snakes, birds, bats, and rodents.[4]


Like other species of the genus Boiga, B. forsteni possesses a mild venom. However, because of its large size, bites to humans should be taken seriously.[4]


B. forsteni is an oviparous species. Sexually mature females lay 5-10 eggs. In India the eggs are laid in August and September.[4]


  1. ^ Smith MA. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region. Reptilia and Amphibia, Vol. III.—Serpentes. London: Secretary of State for India. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xii + 593 pp. (Boiga forsteni, pp. 358-359).
  2. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Boiga forsteni, p. 92).
  3. ^ Boulenger GA. 1890. Fauna British India. Reptilia and Batrachia.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Das I. 2002. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of India. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 144 pp. ISBN 0-88359-056-5. (Boiga forsteni, p. 23).

Further reading[edit]

  • Anderson J. 1871. On some Indian reptiles. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1871: 149-211. (Dipsas forsteni, p. 187).
  • Boulenger GA. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor & Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Dipsas forstenii, p. 362).
  • Boulenger GA. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ) ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Dipsadomorphus forsteni, p. 80).
  • Duméril A-M-C, Bibron G, Duméril A[-H-A]. 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie. Comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris: Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: xii + 781-1536. (Triglyphodon forsteni, new species, pp. 1077–1078). (in French).
  • Günther ACLG. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London: The Ray Society. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xxvii + 452 pp. + Plates I-XXVI. (Dipsas forsteni, p. 309).
  • Wall F. 1921. Ophidia Taprobanica or the Snakes of Ceylon. Colombo, Ceylon [Sri Lanka]: Colombo Museum. (H.R. Cottle, Government Printer). xxii + 581 pp. (Dipsadomorphus forsteni, pp. 285–289).

External links[edit]