Boiga nigriceps

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Black-Headed Cat Snake
Boiga nigriceps, Red cat snake.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Boiga
Species: B. nigriceps
Binomial name
Boiga nigriceps
(Günther, 1863)
Boiga nigriceps distribution.png

Dipsas nigriceps Günther, 1863
Dipsadomorphus nigriceps Boulenger, 1896

Boiga nigriceps (black-headed cat snake) is a species of colubrid snake from South-East Asia.[1][2][3] They are large snakes; adults may attain a total length of 1.75 m (5 12 ft).[4]


It gets its name from the greenish to blackish coloration of its head. Neonates and juveniles do not exhibit this dark color on the head until adulthood. The body color ranges greatly from brown, orange, red, and even black. The ventral region of the snake is yellowish below the neck and white for the rest.[citation needed]


Two subspecies are recognized:[2]

  • Boiga nigriceps nigriceps (Günther, 1863)
  • Boiga nigriceps brevicauda Smith, 1926


Indonesia, Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand.[1][2]


The black-headed cat snake is arboreal,[1] but frequently comes down to the ground in search of prey. They occupy lowland and mid-elevation tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia.


Little is known about the black-headed cat snake's venom toxicity on humans, but it is thought to be comparable to the severity of a copperhead. This rear fanged colubrid's bite rarely results in adverse effects due to its poor venom delivery system. Luckily their fangs' positioning doesn't result in any significant envenomation.

Symptoms tend to stay localized to the envenomation site, limiting the victim to minor swelling and pain. However, with any run in with venom the possibility of an allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock is heightened. While there may not be any known to date fatalities from Boiga nigriceps, it does not mean they shouldn't be taken seriously! Like all animals that pose a threat they should be handled with vigilance, care, and caution. Which is exactly why there is so much controversy over keeping reptiles such as these rear fanged colubrids as pets. Proper handling equipment (snake hooks/tongs etc.) is suggested to be used while working with this species at all times.[5]


The black-headed cat snake feeds on lizards, frogs, birds, small mammals[5] and other snakes in the wild.


  1. ^ a b c d Grismer, L. & Chan-Ard, T. (2012). "Boiga nigriceps". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012: e.T192237A2059586. Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Boiga nigriceps at the Reptile Database. Accessed 23 April 2016.
  3. ^ Vogel, Gernot; Janis Kruse (2004). "Checklist of the Genus Boiga (Serpentes: Colubridae)". 
  4. ^ Heinz Klaus Thiesen. "Genus: Boiga (Cat Snakes)". Siam Info. Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Black Headed Catsnake, Boiga nigriceps". Retrieved 2016-01-13.