Mangrove Snake

Boiga dendrophila

Last updated: March 27, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Dennis W Donohue/Shutterstock.com

Mangrove Snake Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Family
Colubridae
Genus
Boiga
Scientific Name
Boiga dendrophila

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Mangrove Snake Locations

Mangrove Snake Locations

Mangrove Snake Facts

Prey
Reptiles, birds, small mammals.
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
4 to 15 eggs
Common Name
Mangrove snake or gold-ringed cat snake

Mangrove Snake Physical Characteristics

Lifespan
12 to 17 years
Length
6-7 feet
Venomous
Yes
Aggression
Medium

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“Mangrove snakes have weak venom.”

The mangrove snake, which is also known as the gold-ringed cat snake, has bold black and yellow coloring along its slim body. Laying about 10 eggs per clutch, these eggs take 45 days to hatch into 8-inch long baby snakes. They are often mistaken for much deadlier snakes, though their venom is among the weakest. In fact, because of the rear position of their fangs in their mouth, it is incredibly difficult for them to actually bite down on an arm or a leg to release venom at all.

5 Amazing Mangrove Snake Facts

1. The primary diet of the mangrove snake consists of reptiles, birds, and small mammals.
2. Even though this cat snake species is named after the mangrove rainforest, the preferred habitat is the lowland forest region.
3. The mangrove snake doesn’t have strong venom, and it takes chewing to continue to release the venom.
4. No person has ever died as a result of being bitten by a mangrove snake. However, since it looks much like the banded krait, it is best to seek medical treatment as the latter is deadly.
5. The price starts at about $100 to adopt a mangrove snake. Baby mangrove snakes are more expensive in their total price, often costing you double.

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Where to Find Mangrove Snakes

The only place that you’ll find the mangrove snake is in southeast Asia, though there are a few different subspecies throughout the region. Primarily, it is found in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Within these regions, mangrove primarily lives within the lowland forest habitats, rather than the mangrove swamps it is named after.
The mangrove saltmarsh water snake, though it is in a separate class, lives in Florida. The swamps of Florida are the perfect habitat for these snakes, and they are typically found in Palm Beach County for the coast.

Types of Mangrove Snakes

The mangrove snake has a total of 9 subspecies, which include:
– Boiga dendrophila annectens, which lives in Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, and East Malaysia.
– Boiga dendrophila, which lives in Indonesia.
– Boiga dendrophila divergens, which lives in the Philippines.
– Boiga dendrophila gemmicincta, which lives in Indonesia.
– Boiga dendrophila latifasciata, which lives in the Philippines.
– Boiga dendrophila levitoni, which lives in Panay and probably other islands of the West Visayas region
– Boiga dendrophila melanota, which lives in south Thailand, west Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
– Boiga dendrophila multicincta, which lives in some areas of the Philippines.
– Boiga dendrophila occidentalis, which lives in Indonesia.
Though the mangrove saltmarsh water snake comes from a completely different genus, it has many of the attributes of the traditional mangrove snake. It lives in Florida, though it is not often seen because it lives within the mangrove swamps in the state.

Mangrove Snake Scientific Name

The mangrove snake has the scientific name boiga dentrophila. It is also called the gold-ringed cat snake. It is part of the Colubridae family of the Reptilia class. “Boiga” comes from an unknown Latin origin, while “dentrophila” comes from two words – “dendro” (which means “tree”) and “phile” (which means “loving”).



Mangrove Snake Population & Conservation Status

The total population of the mangrove snake is unknown, though it only lives in certain parts of Asia. According to the IUCN RedList, the mangrove snake is classified as Least Concern.

How to Identify Mangrove Snakes: Appearance and Description

There are few cat snake species as big as mangrove snakes, reaching 6-7 feet in length. The snout of this snake is longer than its eyes, and it features a black body with yellow traverse bands along its entire length. It looks fairly similar to the banded krait, but it isn’t nearly as deadly. Baby mangrove snakes are fairly similar in their coloring, only measuring about 8 inches long at birth.
How to identify Mangrove Snakes:
– Black body with yellow bands.
– Up to 7 feet in length.
– Head narrows at the snout.
– Rear-positioned fangs with grooves.
– Baby hatchlings are only 8 inches long.

Mangrove Snake Venom: How Dangerous Are They?

This mildly venomous snake is unlike other species because it doesn’t actually have a record of being fatal or any victim. Though intense swelling can happen, the snake takes it time to release the venom, chewing on its prey. Furthermore, the venom is not that strong, the fangs are minimal, and the snake has a hard time getting his mouth big enough to actually chomp onto the leg or arm of a human instead. In fact, the venom found in the mangrove snake and other cat snakes is almost entirely toxic to birds, rather than humans.
If a mangrove snake bites you, you’ll first notice the pain and swelling at the sight of the bite. It won’t be lethal, but you should get checked out by a doctor. The most difficult part of identifying the snake is that it looks similar to the banded krait, which is incredibly venomous and dangerous. Erring on the side of caution is best.

Mangrove Snake Behavior and Humans

These snakes can become aggressive with humans if they feel threatened or nervous, striking in an effort to fight back. It can take some time to help the snake to calm down and feel more comfortable with being handled by pet owners, but even a little stress can make them lose their appetite. The handler should always be careful and take proper safety precautions when handling the snake.

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

Mangrove Snake FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How venomous is a mangrove snake?

The mangrove snake is mildly venomous. Though they may bite humans, there have yet to be any recorded deaths as a result of them.

Are Mangrove snakes good pets?

In general, the mangrove snake is rather difficult to care for, which is why it is not a good pet for anyone who hasn’t really owned snakes before. Even experienced owners have a set of challenges that come to their care. It requires a particular diet, habitat, and standard of care to keep them healthy, but the payoff is worth it. Their price is typically a few hundred dollars, depending on the breeder and the age of the snake.

Can you handle a mangrove snake?

Mangrove snakes prefer not to be handled much because they get incredibly stressed out. If they reach a certain level of stress, they might not eat.

Are Mangrove snakes aggressive?

Typically, they are only aggressive if they are nervous around someone, striking repeatedly to defend themselves against the threat of attack.

What does a mangrove snake eat?

The typical diet of a mangrove snake involves other snakes, frogs, and lizards primarily, though this snake is a species of opportunity. They will also go after small mammals, including bats, though they’ll eat birds and their eggs when they are available.

Sources
  1. , Available here: https://snake-facts.weebly.com/mangrove-snake.html
  2. , Available here: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/30949-baby-black-and-yellow-mangrove-snakes
  3. , Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiga_dendrophila
  4. , Available here: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/mangrove-snake

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