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Boiga irregularis

(Brown Tree Snake)


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Reptile . Native to eastern Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, as well as the northern and eastern coasts of Australia, the brown snake is notorious for concealing itself in international freight and aircraft. It is nocturnal , secretive and arboreal , hunting for food at all levels within a forest . The brown treesnake has altered the terrestrial ecology and disrupted the electrical supply of Guam.

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Czech:

Bojga hnědá

Common Names in English:

Brown Tree Snake, Brown Catsnake, Brown Treesnake

Common Names in German:

Braune Nachtbaumnatter

Common Names in Japanese:


Common Names in Russian:

Коричневая бойга

Common Names in Ukrainian:

Бура бойга


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Family Colubridae

The family Colubridae, which includes the kingsnakes (Lampropeltis spp. ), is the largest, most widespread, and diverse family of snakes , with few physical characteristics universal among all species. The family contains 70 percent of the known species of snakes, with more than 1700 species worldwide (Pough et al. 1998). Although some colubrids are dangerously venomous , most are harmless to humans. [1]

Physical Description

Species Boiga irregularis

A slender, climbing snake with large eyes and a head much wider than the neck. Colour is light brown (uncommonly greenish brown). Black speckling may be present on the lateral part of the back. Pupil vertical . Can reach 3 m , but typically 1-2 m long. Can be aggressive when cornered.


Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,114 meters (0 to 6,936 feet).[2]

Ecology: An effective generalised predator , it decimated the Guamanian avifauna, greatly impacted other terrestrial vertebrates , and caused cascading ecological perturbations. Likely to similarly destabilise ecosystems if established elsewhere. It is a human nuisance and an agricultural pest.


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Sexual. Lays eggs . In appropriate habitats may reproduce year-round, but in temperate environments activity and reproduction are likely to be seasonal.In native range , clutch size may exceed 10, but on Guam appears to be closer to 5. Number of clutches per year is unknown. Females may be able to store live sperm for several months (or years?).

Incubation may last about 3 months. B . irregularis (especially juveniles?) can be highly mobile , and stowaways on planes and boats are mostly juveniles . Movement rates may be increased when prey are scarce. Dispersal is probably greatly human-aided on all scales .


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Boiga Flavescens • Boiga irregularis - Cogger 1983: 209 • Boiga irregularis — Cogger 2000: 618 • Coluber irregularis Merrem in Bechstein 1802: 239 • Dendrophis fusca Gray 1842: 54 • Dendrophis< /i> (Ahetula) Fusca Gray 1842: 54 • Dipsadomorphus irregularis Werner 1899: 374 • Dipsas boydii Macleay 1884: 548 • Dipsas irregularis Fischer 1884: 49 • Dipsas ornata Macleay 1888: 416 • Hurria pseudoboiga DAUDIN 1803: 277< /i> (Nomen Nov. Pro Coluber Irregularis) • Pappophis flavigastra Macleay 1877: 40 • Pappophis laticeps Macleay 1877: 39 • Triglyphodon flavescens DumÉril Bibron & DumÉril 1854: 1080 • Triglyphodon irregulare DumÉril Bibron & DumÉril 1854: 1074


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Comment: Holotype: presumed lost fide COGGER 1983. Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.1.28, from Port Essington, N. T. [Dendrophis (Ahetula) fusca] Syntypes: AM R31888-91, from Hall Sound , Papua New Guinea [Pappophis laticeps] Holotype: AM R31887, from Mawatta, Binaturi River (as Katow), Papua New Guinea [Pappophis flavigastra] Holotype: AM R31892, from "collection from J. A. Boyd of Ripple Creek, Ingham, in northern Qld. [Dipsas boydii] Holotype: AM R31893, from "vicinity of King's Sound", W. A. [Dipsas ornata] Venomous! Synonymy mainly after COGGER 1983. This snake is famous for its disastrous role on the native fauna of Guam (see info links below for details).

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Boiga

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 35 species and subspecies in this genus:

B. andamanensis (Andaman Cat Snake) · B. angulata (Philippine Blunt-Headed Tree Snake) · B. barnesii (Barnes Cat Snake) · B. beddomei (Beddome's Cat Snake) · B. bengkuluensis (Bengkulu Cat Snake) · B. blandingii (Blandings Tree Snake) · B. bourreti (Bourret's Cat Snake) · B. ceylonensis (Sri Lanka Cat Snake) · B. cyanea (Green Cat Snake) · B. cynodon (Large Blunt Headed Tree Snake) · B. dendrophila (Mangrove Catsnake) · B. dendrophila dendrophila (Mangrove Snake) · B. dightoni (Travancore Cat Snake) · B. drapiezii (White-Spotted Cat Snake) · B. forsteni (Forsten's Cat Snake) · B. gokool (Arrowback Tree Snake) · B. guangxiensis (Guangxi Cat Snake) · B. irregularis (Brown Tree Snake) · B. jaspidea (Jasper�s Cat Snake) · B. kraepelini (Square Headed Cat Snake) · B. multifasciata (Many-Banded Cat Snake) · B. multomaculata (Vielflecken-Nachtbaumnatter) · B. nigriceps (Black-Headed Cat Snake) · B. nuchalis (Collared Cat Snake) · B. ocellata (Gray Cat Snake) · B. ochracea (Tawny Cat Snake) · B. philippina (Philippine Cat Snake) · B. pulverulenta (Fischer's Cat Snake) · B. quincunciata (Assamese Cat Snake) · B. saengsomi (Banded Green Cat Snake) · B. schultzei (Schultz' Blunt-Headed Tree Snake) · B. siamensis (Thai Cat Snake) · B. tanahjampeana (Tanahjampea Cat Snake) · B. trigonata (Common Cat Snake) · B. wallachi (Nicobar Cat Snake)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 27, 2008:



  1. Painter, Charles W., Chuck L. Hayes, and James N. Stuart "Recovery and Conservation of the Gray-Banded Kingsnake. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. May 1, 2002. [back]
  2. Mean = 508.500 meters (1,668.307 feet), Standard Deviation = 802.940 based on 6 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06