You are hereMangrove snake, Boiga dendrophila

Mangrove snake, Boiga dendrophila


Mangrove Boiga dendrophilaIntroduction The Mangrove snake is a large, arboreal snake, native to Southeast Asia. They are common in dense forest and jungle, but are also known to occur near rivers and agricultural land.

They are primarily nocturnal, but have been observed basking on large branches during the day.

Mangrove snakes have been known to grow over seven feet in length. They are slender to accommodate an arboreal lifestyle.

Mangroves are opportunistic predators. They prey on birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish; generally catching their prey at night and immobilizing it with their powerful venom, which flows from fangs located in the back of the mouth.

Acclimation and Quarantine Mangrove snakes can be difficult to acclimate. First, it is important to address any potential parasite load the snake may have. A heavy infestation can cause the snake's health to rapidly decline and may lead to it's death.

Fresh imports may also be severely dehydrated. Place the snake in a deli cup or bucket filled to about one inch with lukewarm water. This method is very effective as the snake will often drink while they soak.

Acclimation and quarantine enclosures need not be elaborate, instead they should be sterile and easy to clean. Plastic storage bins are often used for such enclosures as they are easy to clean, come in a variety of sizes, and most provide the security needed for a freshly imported snake.

Paper towels, newspapers, or other easily cleaned materials may be used as the substrate. A hide box will provide additional security. A ceramic water dish should be used as these are strong and heavy bodied snakes and are likely to tip over anything plastic.

This setup should be used until the snake is feeding regularly and appears to be in good health.

Housing Once the snake is acclimated and feeding well it may be put into a permanent cage. Mangrove snakes don't require very long enclosures. However, ample vertical space is a necessity as these snakes are mostly arboreal in their habits and will require such room to climb. A cage that is about 48x18x24(LxWxH) is a minimum size for an individual. Larger enclosures are usually better. See our "How To" section for tips on Vertically Orienting an Aquarium. Glass enclosures are commonly used. Plastic, wood and polyethylene cages are also available as well.

Furnishing the enclosure is of personal preference. Branches are very important in furnishing the enclosure as this snake rarely descends to the bottom of the cage. There should be numerous branches located through out the enclosure to allow the snake access to any point in the cage. Arboreal hides should be placed in the branches to provide the snake with a sense of security. Place hide boxes at multiple levels to provide the snake with a thermal gradient. Mangrove snakes generally prefer arboreal hides to those on the ground. Large amounts of foliage should be added to the cage to provide the snake with visual barriers and more places to hide.

For the substrate, aspen, soil, mulch, ground coconut, and sphagnum moss are all acceptable.

Heating and Lighting There should be a thermal gradient in the cage so that the snake may choose the area of the cage where it is most comfortable. The warmest extreme of the cage should be between 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit, while the cooler side of the cage should be between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is extremely important that the snake is provided with this thermal gradient so they can escape the heat. At night there should be a slight drop in temperature, preferably of about ten degrees. Heat pads, cable, tape and basking lights are all great ways to provide heat.

Humidity Mangrove snakes thrive in environments with high humidity. The ideal humidity range would be between 60-80%, but moments above and below this range are acceptable for short periods of time. If the appropriate humidity is not provided the snake may experience health problems. To achieve the necessary humidity simply spray the cage once or twice a day/evening with fresh water and provide a fresh bowl of water.

When spraying the cage it is important to make sure that the substrate remains moist but not soggy. If too much moisture is present, the snake could develop scale or respiratory infections.

Feeding Feeding is straight forward. Prey should be an appropriate size relative to that of the snake you are feeding. Feed neonates and juveniles frequently to ensure rapid growth. A pinky/fuzzy or two twice a week is a good regimen. For adults 2-3 mice or small rats once a week will suffice.

Snakes should be fed in an enclosure other than what it lives in. By doing this, the likely hood of an aggressive feeding response when you open the cage will be reduced. The feeding container can be bear bottom to ensure that the snake only swallows it's food and not any bedding which may lead to a mouth infection or an impaction in the stomach.

Neonates and wild caught animals may be difficult to initiate feeding, however once they accept their first meal they normally continue to feed well from then on. To entice a reluctant snake to feed try placing the animal in a restricted container such as a deli dish in order to keep the food and it's scent in close proximity to the snake. Leave it alone for about 24 hours. See our "How To" section for additional tips on How to entice a reluctant snake to feed.

Water A dish of fresh water should always be available. Most Mangrove snakes will not drink from a dish initially but will eventually. The most reliable way to get your snake to drink is to mist/spray the cage once or twice a day. This serves two purposes. The first is drinkable water and the second is to help maintain humidity. Most arboreal snakes will readily drink the droplets that accumulate on it's body and surroundings before they will drink from a bowl of standing water.

A Note on Venom Mangrove snake venom is considered to be very potent. Recent studies show that it is a powerful neurotoxin which does have the capability to kill a human.

Due to the poor delivery system, this snake's bite is normally not life threatening. There are no known fatalities from the bite of a mangrove snake, however, documentation of envenomations do exist. Most bites result in localized swelling, pain and itching.

Always be aware of the possibility of an allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock.

Since this snake does produce a highly toxic venom and can be extremely aggressive, they should be handled with respect and caution; proper handling tools (gloves, snake hooks/tongs etc.) should be used while working with this species.

 

A Note On Venom Although very little is known about the venom's affect on humans, it is comparable to that of a death adder. Poorly evolved fangs and a poor delivery system make this snake's bite likely less than life threatening. Since they have a primitive means of venom delivery, they are not likely to pose a threat to a healthy adult.

Symptoms are normally limited to localized swelling and pain. Be aware of the possibility of an allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock. There are no known fatalities from a Black Headed catsnake They must be handled with respect and caution; proper handling tools (snake hooks/tongs etc.) should be used while working with this species.

When working with ANY VENOMOUS ANIMAL, ALWAYS HAVE A PREPARED BITE PROTOCOL THAT CAN BE PROVIDED TO EMERGENCY RESPONDERS AND DOCTORS! Many doctors, especially regarding exotic animals have little to no knowledge nor experience with the effects of venom and it's damage to the body; and most likely will not know how to treat you.

Mangrove snake Boiga dendrophila

 

Tags