Brown treesnake

Boiga irregularis

SUBFAMILY

Colubrinae

TAXONOMY

Coluber irregularis Merrem, 1802, Bechstein.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This snake is about 4.5-6.5 ft (1.4-2 m) in length. It has a slender body, very narrow neck, rounded head, and large eyes. It is tan to brown in color with irregular, darker brown, transverse markings.

DISTRIBUTION

The brown treesnake is found in Indonesia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and northern Australia. It has been introduced on Guam.

HABITAT

This snake is primarily arboreal, but it also forages terrestrially. It occurs in a range of habitats, including forests, swamps, and coastal regions.

BEHAVIOR

The brown treesnake is primarily nocturnal. It strikes defensively when threatened.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This species feeds on a variety of vertebrates, primarily lizards, birds, and mammals.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The brown treesnake is oviparous, laying about a dozen eggs per clutch.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. On Guam, where the species has been introduced, it is implicated in the extinction of several species of vertebrates, including most of the native birds.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

There is concern that this species may spread to other Pacific Islands, prompting security measures on some islands, including Hawaii, in an attempt to prevent its introduction. ♦

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