Kashmir rock agama | Laudakia tuberculata Gray, 1827

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Common Cat Snake|Boiga trigonata (Schneider, 1802)

Common Cat Snake, Boiga trigonata, Cat eyed Snake, Indian gamma snake


Genus Boiga belongs to a group of rear-fanged (opisthoglyphous) and slightly venomous snakes which are commonly known as cat-eyed snakes or cat snakes.
The above genus comes under the family Colubridae. The species of said genus are endemic to Southeast Asia, Australia, and India, but on account of their hardy nature and adaptability, they have spread to other suitable habitats around the world. Currently there are about 35 species are documented under this genus.
Boiga trigonata (Image source: wikimedia.org)
  List of species and subspecies come under the above genus are:
  1. Boiga andamanensis (Wall, 1909) – Andaman cat snake
  2. Boiga angulata (W. Peters, 1861) – Leyte cat snake
  3. Boiga barnesii (Günther, 1869) – Barnes' cat snake
  4. Boiga beddomei (Wall, 1909) – Beddome's cat snake
  5. Boiga bengkuluensis Orlov, Kudryavtzev, Ryabov & Shumakov, 2003
  6. Boiga blandingii (Hallowell, 1844) – Blanding's tree snake
  7. Boiga bourreti Tillack, Ziegler & Le Khac Quyet, 2004
  8. Boiga ceylonensis (Günther, 1858) – Sri Lanka cat snake
  9. Boiga cyanea (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854) – Green cat snake
  10. Boiga cynodon (F. Boie, 1827) – Dog-toothed cat snake
  11. Boiga dendrophila (F. Boie, 1827) – gold-ringed cat snake, mangrove snake
    1. Boiga dendrophila annectens (Boulenger, 1896)
    2. Boiga dendrophila dendrophila (F. Boie, 1827)
    3. Boiga dendrophila divergens Taylor, 1922
    4. Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854)
    5. Boiga dendrophila latifasciata (Boulenger, 1896)
    6. Boiga dendrophila levitoni Gaulke, Demegillo & G. Vogel, 2005
    7. Boiga dendrophila melanota (Boulenger, 1896)
    8. Boiga dendrophila multicincta (Boulenger, 1896)
    9. Boiga dendrophila occidentalis Brongersma, 1934
  12. Boiga dightoni (Boulenger, 1894) – Pirmad cat snake
  13. Boiga drapiezii (H. Boie in F. Boie, 1827) – White-spotted cat snake
  14. Boiga flaviviridis G. Vogel & Ganesh, 2013
  15. Boiga forsteni (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854) – Forsten's cat snake
  16. Boiga gocool (Gray, 1835) – Arrowback tree snake
  17. Boiga guangxiensis Wen, 1998
  18. Boiga hoeseli  Ramadhan, Iskandar & Subasri, 2010
  19. Boiga irregularis (Merrem, 1802) – Brown tree snake
  20. Boiga jaspidea (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854) – Jasper cat snake
  21. Boiga kraepelini (Stejneger, 1902) – Kelung cat snake
  22. Boiga multifasciata (Blyth, 1861) – Many-banded cat snake
  23. Boiga multomaculata (F. Boie, 1827) – Many-spotted cat snake
  24. Boiga nigriceps (Günther, 1863) – black-headed cat snake
  25. Boiga nuchalis (Günther, 1875) – Ashahar's cat snake
  26. Boiga ochracea (Günther, 1868) – tawny cat snake
  27. Boiga philippina (W. Peters, 1867) – Philippine cat snake
  28. Boiga quincunciata (Wall, 1908)
  29. Boiga saengsomi Nutphand, 1985 – Banded cat snake
  30. Boiga schultzei Taylor, 1923 – Schultze's blunt-headed tree snake
  31. Boiga siamensis (Nutphand, 1971) – Gray cat snake
  32. Boiga tanahjampeana Orlov & Ryabov, 2002
  33. Boiga trigonata (Schneider, 1802) – Indian gamma snake
    1. Boiga trigonata trigonata (Schneider, 1802)
    2. Boiga trigonata melanocephala (Annandale, 1904)
  34. Boiga wallachi Das, 1998 – Nicobar cat snake
  35. Boiga westermanni Reinhardt, 1863 – Indian egg-eating snake
Common Cat Snake|Boiga trigonata (Schneider, 1802)

Boiga trigonata commonly known as Common Cat Snake or Indian Gamma Snake is a species of family colubridae and is endemic to south Asia. It belongs to the group of rear-fanged colubrids. It resembles with venomous species of snake (Echis carinatus) in coloration and shape. In India, Both species of snakes share nearly identical geographic range.

Boiga trigonata (Image source: wikimedia.org)

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:
Animalia

Phylum:
Chordata

Class:
Reptilia

Order:
Squamata

Suborder:
Serpentes

Family:
Colubridae

Genus:
Boiga

Species:
trigonata

Binomial name

Boiga trigonata (Schneider, 1802)

B. trigonata has its anterior palatine and mandibular teeth are larger than their posterior. “Cat snake” name come because of their pupils, which are vertical, like a cat’s pupils. Eyes of the species are as long as the distance from its nostril where the rostral is broader than deep having the internasals scales shorter than its prefrontal scales. However the frontal scales of the snake is longer than their gap from the end of the snout where shorter than the parietal scales. The loreals of this species are as long as they are deep, or, can be found deeper sometimes than they are long. B. trigonata has one preocular which do not expand to the upper surface of the head. It has two postoculars, temporals (2+3), 8 supra labials, with the 3-5 entering the eye and 4-5 infra labials in contact with the anterior chin-shields, which are observed as long as the posterior.
The body of the species is laterally compressed having smooth dorsal scales in 21 rows, rarely 19, having apical pits, inclined obliquely. Vertebral are very feebly enlarged. On the ventral side the ventral scales are ranged from 229-269, having 79-92 subcaudal scales (divided). The snakes have a single anal scale. The total length of the species is recorded around 91 cm (3feet) with a 7 inch tail.
The species has a pale grey colour or yellowish-olive along the back having white & black edged zigzag strip down the length of the head with two brown bands edged with black, diverging the body on posterior side. On the other hand the belly of snake is white in colour and has a series of small brown spots laterally.
Because of their widespread distribution, interactions of these snakes with humans are quite frequent. They successfully inhabited many areas close to human settlements. However they are mildly venomous but not dangerous though their bites are quite painful. Till date no human casualty has ever been reported from a bite from this snake.
Boiga trigonata (Image source: wikimedia.org)
The behavior of theses snakes varies from species to species. Majority of species are solitary, while some live in groups also. On the other hand some species are arboreal, while some are terrestrial. Although this precise behavior in these snakes may differ species to species, but they all spend their time looking for food or waiting for food to approach them.
It a nocturnal and cagey species and can live in variety of habitat within their range. These snakes can live in a range of habitats from gallery forest to sparse desert shrub land, rocky areas with sandy areas, in urban gardens, in deserts, fields, occasionally in grasslands or rural gardens. However do not prefer to live in colder regions.
These snakes are oviparous and most produce small clutches of eggs (3 and 15 eggs per clutch). While the incubation phase and precise breeding behaviors may vary between species. Juveniles are self-sufficient after hatching as they do not receive any maternal care.
As like most of the other colubrid snakes, the diet varies in this species depending on the food source; they can take variety of meal ranging from birds to rodents, small reptiles to frogs and eggs of different animals.
Boiga trigonata (Image source: wikimedia.org)
It is widely distributed around the world from Indian, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, southern Turkmenistan, southeastern Tajikistan, southern Uzbekistan and Iran.
This species is categorized under least concern category by IUCN. There is no serious threats observed to these snakes but some may depend on the species from region to region. Some suffer from habitat destruction and killings, while some have strong populations.
Literature Cited:
Animals Network Editors. Animals.Net. 2017. https://animals.net/antelope/ (accessed November 4, 2017).
Annandale, N. 1904. Additions to the Collection of Oriental Snakes in the Indian Museum. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 73: 207-211 - get paper here
Baig, K.J, Masroor, R., and Arshad, M. 2008. Biodiversity and ecology of the herpetofauna of Cholistan Desert, Pakistan. Russ. J. Herpetol., 15 (3): 193-205 - get paper here
Bhattarai, S., Chiranjibi, P., Pokheral, B.L., and Naresh, S. 2017. Herpetofauna of a Ramsar Site: Beeshazar and Associated Lakes, Chitwan National Park, Nepal. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 24 (1): 17-29 - get paper here
Boulenger, G.A. (1896). Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol., III. Taylor and Francis, London - get paper here
Boulenger, G.A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London. - get paper here
Bulian, I., and Bulian, J. 1983. Haltung und Zucht von Boiga trigonata (SCHNEIDER 1802). Herpetofauna, 5 (27): 13-15 - get paper here
By rbrausse, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26424363
By Sagar khunte - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70847088
By Srichakra Pranav - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71067189
Chettri, K., and Damodar, T.C. 2013. Diversity of Snakes in Sarlahi District, Nepal. Our Nature 11(2): 201-207
Das, I., and De Silva, A. 2005. Photographic guide to snakes and other reptiles of Sri Lanka. New Holland Publishers.
Duméril, A. M.C., Bibron, G., and 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: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
Ganesh, S.R., Kalaimani, A.P., Karthik, N., Baskaran, R.N., and Chandramouli, S.R.2018. Herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India – II From Western Ghats to Coromandel Coast Asian Journal of Conservation Biology, 7 (1):28-45
http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Boiga&species=trigonata
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiga_trigonata
Jamal, Q., Muhammad, I., Saif, U., Muhammad, A., Farrah, Z., Qaiser, Z., and Syed, B.R. 2018. Diversity and Altitudinal Distribution of Squamata in Two Distinct Ecological Zones of Dir, A Himalayan Sub-Zone of Northern Pakistan. Pakistan J. Zool., 50(5):1835-1839 - get paper here
Kästle, W., Rai, K., and Schleich, H.H. 2013. Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Nepal. ARCO-Nepal e.V., 625 pp. - get paper here
Khan, M.S. 1986. A noteworthy collection of Amphibians and reptiles from North- Western Punjab, Pakistan. The Snake, 18: 118-125
Masroor, R. 2012. A Contribution to the Herpetology of Northern Pakistan. SSAR, Ithaca [review in JoTT 4(6): 2670] - get paper here
Mullan, J.P. 1908. Abnormal scales in the Snakes (Zamenis mucosus and Dipsadomorphus trigonatus). J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc., 18: 919-920 - get paper here
Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The reptile fauna of India. B.R. Publishing, New Delhi, 332 pp.
Nanhoe, L.M.R., and Ouboter, P.E. 1987. The distribution of reptiles and amphibians in the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri region (Nepal). Zoologische Verhandelingen, (240): 1-105 - get paper here
Orlov, N.L.. and Sergei, A.R. 2002. A new species of the genus Boiga (Serpentes, Colubridae, Colubrinae) from Tanahjampea Island and description of "black form" of Boiga cynodon Complex from Sumatra (Indonesia). Russ. J. Herpetol., 9 (1): 33-56 - get paper here
Palot, M.J. 2015. A checklist of reptiles of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 7(13): 8010–8022 - get paper here
Pandey, D.P. 2018. New records of snakes from Chitwan National Park and vicinity, Central Nepal. Herpetology Notes, 11: 679-696 - get paper here
Papenfuss, T., Shafiei, B.S., Sharifi, M., Ananjeva, N., and Orlov, N. 2010. Boiga trigonataThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010. Downloaded on 05 December 2019.
Patel, H., and Vyas, R. 2019. Reptiles of Gujarat, India: Updated Checklist, Distribution, and Conservation Status. Herpetology Notes, 12: 765-777 - get paper here
Rastegar, P.N., Haji, G.K., Mehdi, R., Soheila, S., and Steven, C. A. 2008. Annotated Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles of Iran. Iranian Journal of Animal Biosystematics, 4 (1): 7-30
Saikia, U.,  Sharma, D.K., and Sharma, R.M. 2007. Checklist of the Reptilian fauna of Himachal Pradesh, India. Reptile Rap (8): 6-9 - get paper here
Samarawickrama, V.A.M.P.K.,  Samarawickrama, V.A.P., Wijesena, N.M., and Orlov, N.L. 2005. A new species of genus Boiga (Serpentes: Colubridae: Colubrinae) from Sri Lanka. Russ. J. Herpetol., 12 (3): 213-222 - get paper here
Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. Akhil Books, New Delhi, 292 pp.
Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, including the whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. III (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London.
Swan, L.W., and Leviton, A.E. 1962. The herpetology of Nepal: a history, check list, and zoogeographical analysis of the herpetofauna. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci., 32 (6) (4.s.): 103-147. - get paper here
Taylor, E. H. 1953. Report on a collection of Ceylonese serpents. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 35 (14): 1615-1624 - get paper here
Trivedi, K. and Mehul, T. 2018. A case of cannibalism in the Common Cat snake Boiga trigonata (Schneider 1802) (Squamata: Colubridae) from Surat, India. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians, 25 (1): 68–69 - get paper here
Wall, F. 1905. Notes on Snakes collected in Cannanore from 5th November 1903 to 5th August 1904. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 16: 292 - get paper here
Wall, F. 1907. Notes on Snakes collected in Fyzabad. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 18: 101-129 - get paper here
Wall, F. 1908. A Popular Treatise on the Common Indian Snakes, Part VII. The Saw-scaled Viper or Echis (Echis carinata) and the Gamma or Common Brown Tree-Snake (Dipsadomorphus trigonatus). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 18: 525-554 - get paper here
Wall, F. 1911. Remarks on a snake collection in the Quetta museum. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 20: 1033-1042 - get paper here


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PerSonaLife: Common Cat Snake|Boiga trigonata (Schneider, 1802)
Common Cat Snake|Boiga trigonata (Schneider, 1802)
Common Cat Snake, Boiga trigonata, Cat eyed Snake, Indian gamma snake
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