Boiga forsteni

Boiga forsteni

Boiga forsteni, Forsten's cat snake

Boiga forsteni

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

Animal name origin

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


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

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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. According to Das (2002) maximum snout–vent length (SVL) is 2.3 m (7.5 ft).Latest specimen was rescued at Dandeli forest by a local snake rescuer Razak Shah.Its length was 6.5 feet(1.98m).The specimen was reddish-orange in colour.

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Biogeographical realms

Boiga forstenii is found in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India (Sikkim, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh to Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, southern Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand).

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

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Boiga forsteni habitat map
Boiga forsteni habitat map

Habits and Lifestyle

B. forsteni is nocturnal and arboreal.



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.

Diet and Nutrition

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

Mating Habits

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



1. Boiga forsteni Wikipedia article -
2. Boiga forsteni on The IUCN Red List site -

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