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What is a Boiga?

A Boiga is a captivating genus of mildly venomous snakes, known for their strikingly slender bodies and large eyes, which give them a mysterious allure. Native to Asia and Australia, these nocturnal creatures are often called "cat snakes" for their vertical pupils. Intrigued? Discover how Boiga snakes adapt to their environment and what sets them apart in the serpentine world.
Harriette Halepis
Harriette Halepis

A boiga is a type of venomous snake that is also referred to as a cat-eyed snake. Due to the fact that these snakes can easily adapt to almost any environment, they have been outlawed in many different countries. India, Australia, and Asia are the three places in the world where a boiga snake can be found in its natural habitat.

As the nickname cat-eyed snake suggests, boigas have very large eyes that look like cat eyes. Typically, these snakes have very long, lean bodies, though they are capable of eating very large rodents. When available, a boiga will feed on small rodents, medium-sized birds, and some types of lizards.

Veterinarian with a puppy
Veterinarian with a puppy

In most instances, the venom that a boiga secretes is not harmful to humans. Small children may be adversely affected by this type of venom, and people who have health problems may not be able to withstand the sting from this type of snake. It is illegal to bring a boiga into the United States, since this species has already done a fair amount of damage to some parts of the U.S.

It is assumed that a large number of cat-eyed snakes were brought to the U.S. territory Guam during the 1950s. While scientists are unsure of how these snakes wound up on the island, the snakes proceeded to consume many different bird species that called the island home. Since there are no predators capable of eliminating these snakes on the island, cat-eyed snakes are abundant in Guam. As a result of this incident, anyone caught with a boiga within the United States is subject to criminal prosecution.

Cat-eyed snakes tend to hide in dark, tightly enclosed, spaces. This poses a large problem in any area that is densely populated with these snakes, since cat-eyed snakes prefer to hide inside of electrical transformers. When a snake has slithered into a transformer, the result is a dead snake in addition to a blackout.

There are more than thirty different cat-eyed snake species on the planet. Thus, it is difficult to identify this type of snake. Most of these snakes have some kind of spotting or other marking, though some snakes do not have any markings. In the instance that a person is bitten by this type of snake, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Keeping this type of snake in captivity is not recommended, since these snakes can be hard to train.

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      Veterinarian with a puppy