Boomslang

Boomslang

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Dispholidus typus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
8 yrs
WEIGHT
175-510 g
LENGTH
100-160 cm

The Boomslang is a large, highly venomous snake native to Africa. Its common name means "tree snake" in Afrikaans. These snakes have exceptionally large eyes, and their head has a characteristic egg-like shape. Boomslangs have excellent eyesight and often move the head from side to side to get a better view of objects directly in front. Coloration of their skin is very variable. Males are light green with black or blue scale edges, but adult females may be brown or grey in color.

Distribution

Boomslangs are native to sub-Saharan Africa. They live in karoo shrubs, savannahs, lowland forests, in the Eastern and Central African Plateaus and in grasslands.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Boomslangs are diurnal and almost exclusively arboreal. They will sometimes come down to the ground for hunting and basking the sun. They may also hide underground when the weather is harsh. Boomslangs are solitary reclusive creatures and flee from anything too large to eat. They spend the day hunting in trees or shrubs, moving through tree branches until they find an ideal hiding place. These snakes are able to stalk prey without being detected. During cool weather, they brumate for moderate periods, often curling up inside the enclosed bird nests. Boomslangs are timid snakes and bite generally only when people attempt to handle, catch, or kill them. When confronted and cornered, they inflate their neck and assume an "S"-shaped striking pose.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Boomslangs are carnivores. Their diet includes chameleons and other arboreal lizards, frogs, and occasionally small mammals, birds, and eggs from nesting birds.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
December-January
PREGNANCY DURATION
4 to 8 weeks
INCUBATION PERIOD
3 months
BABY CARRYING
8 to 27
INDEPENDENT AGE
at birth
FEMALE NAME
female
MALE NAME
male
BABY NAME
snakelet
BABY CARRYING
30 eggs

Boomslangs are polygynandrous (promiscuous) meaning that both males and females have multiple partners. They breed in December and January. Boomslangs are oviparous, and an adult female can produce up to 30 eggs, which are deposited in a hollow tree trunk or rotting log. After the eggs have been laid, the female leaves and never returns. The eggs have a relatively long (3 months on average) incubation period. The snakelets use a special "egg tooth" to make their way out of the shell. Male hatchlings are grey in color with blue speckles, and female hatchlings are pale brown. They attain their adult coloration after several years. Hatchlings are about 20 cm (7.9 in) in length and pose no threat to humans; they become dangerously venomous by the time they reach a length of around 45 cm (18 in).

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats facing Boomslangs at present.

Ecological niche

These snakes are important for the ecosystem they live in through controlling the populations of frogs, lizards, birds, and small mammals they prey on.

References

1. Boomslang on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boomslang

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