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Brown tree snake

brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis)
Tully, Queensland
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
Boiga irregularis - (Merrem, 1802)
Pronunciation  boe-EE-gah   ear-REG-you-LAH-ris
Etymology  Boiga: possibly meaningless, but likely referring to Boa, another genus of snakes.
irregularis: 'irregular', referring to the uneven pattern.
Other names  Night tiger
Doll's eye snake
Boiga fusca 
Total length
Species avg: 140 cm
Species max: 200 cm
Clutch size
Average: 6
Range: 6 - 12
Length and clutch size information comes from a variety of sources, but primarily from Shine (1991) and Cogger (2000).
Description Distribution Natural history Conservation Further information More photos

Natural history

Nocturnal. When provoked can become very defensive, rearing up and forming distinctive 'S' shape in body. May constrict prey as well as envenomating it, although the role of venom in subduing prey may be minimal.2 Sometimes squeezes through bars of bird cages, consumes inhabitants, and, finding itself too large to fit back through bars, greets a very surprised and horrified bird owner in the morning. Not considered dangerous. Small fangs located in back of mouth, with only weak venom. Large specimens, however, should be treated with caution. Taxon-specific venom effects and ontogenetic changes in venom composition have been found in one population of this species3.


Smaller individuals tend to feed on frogs, dragons, geckos and skinks, while larger individuals also consume mammals (especially house mice), birds and bird eggs.4 Shine (1991) found that, for brown tree snakes from New South Wales, mammals were a very important part of the diet; those from the Northern Territory consumed primarily lizards; those from Queensland ate primarily birds.4

Has been found to consume roadkill5.

Notes and disclaimer
This information may not be complete. While all care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this page, primary sources should always be consulted for definitive information. Animals have an endearing habit of disobeying the rules, so the information on this page should be interpreted with a degree of flexibility.
The author and site operator accepts no responsibility for any losses or damages incurred through using this web site or the information contained herein. Don't get bitten by anything!
This page may be cited as:
  Boiga irregularis at the Australian Reptile Online Database. Last updated 2017-04-14 15:14:00.
  Retrieved from on the 28th of July, 2021.
Before citing information contained in AROD, please read our Citing AROD page.

Copyright notice
This page, its content and layout are copyright © 2007-2021 Stewart Macdonald / Ug Media, unless otherwise stated.
All photographs in The Australian Reptile Online Database are © the photographer and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the photographer.
No part of The Australian Reptile Online Database may be reproduced without written permission from Stewart Macdonald.
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