Mangrove Snake Fact File

Boiga dendrophila

Credit: Rushenb, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons








Wild 12-20 years

Captive 12-20 years



Frogs, Lizards

Conservation Status


Not Evaluated

The mangrove snake is known from mangrove habitats in parts of Asia where they will spend much of their time in the trees.

They are carnivores which primarily feed on frogs and lizards.

As a member of the colubridae family these snakes are equipped with rear facing fangs which are used to inject a mild venom in to their prey.

Mangrove snakes are threatened through collection for the pet trade and habitat loss.

Read on to learn more about these remarkable reptiles.


What does the mangrove snake look like?

Across the majority of their body the mangrove snake is colored black on the back with yellow along the underside and in triangular bands reaching up on either side of the body. The lips are also colored yellow.

On either side the body is slightly flattened with a distinct ridge running down the center of the body.

The inside of the mouth of the mangrove snake is colored white. It contains a black or dark grey tongue.

These reptiles have large eyes with a narrow, vertical, slit pupil. The large eyes allow them to see better at night.

An average mangrove snake measures 2-2.5m (6.5-8.5ft) long.

Mangrove snakes are similar in appearance to the banded krait, a species with much stronger venom.


What does the mangrove snake eat?

Mangrove snakes are carnivores. They feed on frogs and lizards. Younger animals may also consume large slugs.

These reptiles are mildly venomous and as a colubrid snake their fangs are at the rear of their mouth. These rear-pointed fangs allow them to bite and hold prey. They may chew it to inject venom. The rear angle of their fangs helps with holding on to prey.

The toxin produced by the mangrove snake is most effective on birds. In humans it most often causes swelling and discoloration in the skin. As with all snakes you should seek medical treatment if bitten.

Mangrove Snake

Credit: Ulrik Fallström, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Where can you find the mangrove snake?

Asia is the native home of the mangrove snake. Here they have been recorded in the following countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.

An introduced population was established in the United States in Texas.


What kind of environment does the mangrove snake live in?

Their name is drawn from their primary habitat in mangroves and other riverine habitats. They also occur in lowland forest.

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How does the mangrove snake produce its young?

Females will deposit a clutch of between 4 and 15 eggs in to a pile of rotting leaf litter or a hollow tree stump.

These eggs incubate for 45 days.

At hatching young have similar patterning to the adults. They measure an average of 35 to 43cm (14-17in) long.


What does the mangrove snake do with its day?

These reptiles are active by night.

They are considered arboreal and spend much of their time in the trees. Much of their time is spent coiled in a tree branch.

These animals are adept swimmers which can move easily through the water.

Mangrove Snake

Credit: Cymothoa exigua, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the mangrove snake?

This species has been recorded from the wildlife trade with individuals seized after having been captured.

Their habitat has been subject to large amounts of habitat destruction.

Quick facts

The mangrove snake is also known as the gold-ringed cat snake or mangrove cat snake.

Nine subspecies of the mangrove snake are found across their range.

Mangrove Snake

Credit: Rushen, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.

Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2021. Mangrove snake. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 October 2021].

Snake Facts. 2021. Mangrove Snake. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 1 November 2021]. 2021. Mangrove Snake Care Sheet | Reptiles' Cove. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 1 November 2021].

Amphibians, R., 2021. MANGROVE SNAKE - KHAO SOK National Park, Thailand. [online] KHAO SOK National Park, Thailand. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 November 2021].

Thailand Snakes, Snakebite, Herping, Tours, Snake Traps. 2021. Banded Mangrove Snake - Venomous - Mildly Dangerous | Thailand Snakes. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 1 November 2021].

Dolorosa, Roger. (2014). Notes on Mangrove Snake Boiga dendrophila multicincta (Boulenger, 1896) in Iwahig River, Puerto Princesa City. The Palawan Scientist. 6. 39-41.

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