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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Black-headed Cat Snake
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5


Fig 6


 

Family : COLUBRIDAE
Species : Boiga nigriceps
Maximum Size : 1.75 metres

The Black-headed or Red Cat Snake inhabits primary and secondary lowland rainforest up to around 1000 metres elevation. It is mainly arboreal.

The body scales are reddish-brown or olive-grey, with faint darker flecks. The top of the head is dark grey or grey-brown and the throat and labials cream in colour. The ventral surface is pale.

Juveniles lack the dark colour on top of the head, which is covered with black speckles.

The species preys on a variety of vertebrates including lizards, frogs, birds and mice.

The Black-headed Cat Snake ranges from southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia to Borneo, Sumatra and Java.


Figs 1 to 3 : Reddish-brown specimen from lowland forest at the western outskirts of Taman Negara, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia.  It was encountered at night as it drank from a forest stream.

Fig 4 : Brown specimen coiled in riparian vegetation.  Kinabatangan River, Sabah, Borneo.

Figs 5 and 6 : Juvenile from Gunung Arong, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. The dark colour on top of the head has yet to develop in this snake, which had an estimated total length of 50 cm.


References : H1, H3