Boiga drapiezii, White-spotted cat snake (juvenile) - Khao Luang National Park
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16 Mind-Blowing Facts About White Spotted Cat Snakes

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The white spotted cat snake (Boiga drapiezii) is a fascinating species of rear-fanged colubrid snake found in Southeast Asia. This slender, tree-dwelling snake has some truly remarkable traits.

Here are 16 mind-blowing facts about the white spotted cat snake:

Facts About White Spotted Cat Snakes

  1. The white spotted cat snake is mildly venomous. While not lethal to humans, it produces a mild venom that helps it subdue lizards, frogs, small mammals, and birds. The venom is delivered through a pair of grooved, rear-facing fangs.
  2. It has heat-sensing pits. The white spotted cat snake has specialized heat-sensing pits on its upper and lower lips. These allow it to accurately strike warm-blooded prey in low light conditions. The pits detect infrared radiation from sources warmer than the background.
  3. Its eyes have vertical pupils. The white spotted cat snake has striking eyes with vertical, cat-like pupils which can open wide to let in additional light at night when the snake is active. Vertical pupils also help judge distance.
  4. The white spotted cat snake is arboreal. It spends most of its time up in trees and is well adapted for climbing and moving through branches. It has a slender body, large eyes, and prehensile tail tip.
  5. It has a small, rounded head. The head of the white spotted cat snake is much narrower than the thickest part of its body. This allows it to explore narrow crevices and holes while hunting prey.
  6. They are nocturnal hunters. The white spotted cat snake is primarily nocturnal, using its heat-sensing pits and excellent night vision to hunt small animals at night. During the day, they remain hidden and inactive.
  7. It lays eggs. Like most colubrid snakes, the white spotted cat snake is oviparous, meaning it lays eggs rather than giving birth to live young. Females lay up to 12 eggs at a time, often in arboreal termite nests.
  8. Hatchlings are patternless. When white spotted cat snakes first hatch from their eggs, they lack the distinctive spotted and striped patterning of adults. The patterns gradually appear as they mature.
  9. They are habitat specialists. White spotted cat snakes thrive in tropical lowland rainforests and seldom venture into open areas. They need the shelter and stable temperatures of dense forest habitat.
  10. It uses camouflage. The brown and white coloration of these snakes blends in well with dappled sunlight and leaf litter on the forest floor. Their camo helps them ambush prey and hide from predators.
  11. They have a prehensile tail. The tail tip of the white spotted cat snake can wrap around branches to give the snake additional grip and balance in trees. This adaptation suits its arboreal lifestyle.
  12. It constricts prey. Like boas and pythons, the white spotted cat snake kills prey by constriction, using its muscular body to squeeze animals until blood flow stops. This allows it to kill prey larger than the diameter of its head.
  13. They are immune to pit viper venom. Research has found that white spotted cat snakes and other Asian vine snakes have serum proteins that neutralize the hemotoxic venoms of related pit vipers. This helps protect them against predation and competition.
  14. It was thought extinct in Singapore. After not being seen for over 100 years, the white spotted cat snake was rediscovered in Singapore in 2008. It remains very rare there due to urbanization and habitat loss.
  15. They are slender and graceful. Growing up to 6.5 feet long, white spotted cat snakes have a slender build with smooth scales, allowing them to move gracefully through vegetation when hunting or evading predators.
  16. It is mildly threatened. Habitat destruction has reduced white spotted cat snake populations somewhat, but the species remains widespread and adaptable. They are classified as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

Conclusion

With its arboreal habits, specialized heat-sensing pits, vertical pupils, camouflage, and other adaptations, the white spotted cat snake is a fascinating and beautiful species of rear-fanged colubrid perfectly suited to hunting in Southeast Asian rainforests. Hopefully these mind-blowing facts shed new light on this impressive snake! Protecting these forests will be crucial for ensuring the long-term survival of this species.


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