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What is a Mangrove Snake?

By Christine Hudson
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The mangrove snake, or Boiga dendrophila, is a snake of tropical regions averaging 5- to 6-feet long (1.5 to 1.8 m). It is native Southeast Asia in areas such as Thailand and the Philippines. The mangrove is also commonly referred to as the boiga snake or the gold-ringed cat snake and tends to seek out humid swamps in which to live. This snake can be identified by its distinctive small, yellow stripes on a black body and rear fangs.

Throughout the spring and summer, the mangrove snake is actively breeding in humid areas. They normally lay eggs about three to four times during these seasons and are considered the most dangerous during the incubation period of their eggs. The rest of the time, they are considered very nervous creatures with very high tempers and generally should not be handled or trifled with.

A bite from a mangrove snake is usually only fatal to small creatures. Their bite contains a mild neurotoxin, but they are not considered a threat to humans. As the fangs of a mangrove snake are located in the back of the mouth and are curled backward, it is generally very difficult for it to use this toxin on anything except its prey. These snakes commonly prey on lizards, frogs, and mice. Even in these instances, the mangrove must bite repeatedly or chew on a creature in order to use the toxin.

If bitten by a mangrove snake, it is typically recommended that a person treat the wound for infection and cover it. Keeping the wound clean is generally the most important aspect of treatment for most bites. The victim may wish to also see a medical professional simply to be checked for any toxin or to receive antibiotics. The mangrove snake does not usually leave a wound big enough to require stitches, and topical antibiotics should take care of the healing process quickly.

Although the mangrove snake is not considered a fatal threat to humans, people native to Southeast Asia are typically wary of it and it habitats. Any sort of bite may be painful, and the possibility of infection is normally increased by the unclean conditions of the swamps in which these snakes live. In some areas, the mangrove snake is kept as a pet in terrariums, but even in captivity, they are known to be very aggressive snakes which can not be handled.

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