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Introduction to Boomslang Snake

The boomslang is a venomous snake species native to sub-Saharan Africa. It belongs to the family Colubridae and is primarily found in the savannas, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands of the continent. It is a diurnal species and most active during the day. Boomslangs can grow up to an average of 5.5 ft. long, and are green in colour, with some males having a slight yellow hue. The most distinct characteristic of a boomslang is its bright yellow-to-orange underbelly. They eat mostly mice, frogs, small birds, lizards and occasionally small snakes.

Adaptability and Biology

Boomslangs are unique among species of snakes in that they can inhabit multiple habitats within their range. They can live in periodically wet and/or dry savannas, open forests, mountain ridges and even urban backyards. Due to this adaptability, they are quite common across the entirety of sub-Saharan Africa. Boomslangs are generally strong and healthy, living an average of 10 to 15 years in captivity and up to 5 in the wild.

Boomslangs are unique in that they are among the few diurnal venomous snakes. They are also relatively small in size, with an average of 3.5 – 5.5 ft. They vary in color depending on the species, and sexual dimorphism is common due to the size and color differences in males and females. Boomslangs have thick bodies and can be easily distinguished from other species of snake due to its bright yellow underside, as well as distinctive slanted eyes.

Defensive Behaviors

Boomslangs are generally non-aggressive, but when provoked or harassed they can become extremely aggressive. If a boomslang is cornered or attacked, it will hiss, coil up, and may strike repeatedly. Boomslangs usually display defensive behaviour when trying to escape, such as mimicking death movements, or by curling up in a ball and shaking its tail in a rattlesnake-like manner.

When threatened, boomslangs have a strong venom which is injected through their long, sharp fangs. The venom contains potent neurotoxins which can paralyze their prey and can also cause severe swelling, nausea, and vomiting in humans. Fortunately, boomslang venom is not usually fatal if treated promptly.

Diet and Prey

Boomslangs are experienced and formidable hunters, using their unique colouration and specialized venom to incapacitate their prey. They typically feed on small mammals such as mice, frogs, small birds, lizards, and occasionally snakes.

A boomslang will stalk its prey by keeping its head above the grass and its eyes locked on the target. Once within striking range, the boomslang will lunge out and use its large, sharp fangs to inject its venom into the prey. After biting and paralyzing its prey, the boomslang consumes its prey while it is still alive.

Boomslang two

Reproduction and Mating

Boomslangs are oviparous animals, meaning they lay eggs. The female boomslang typically lays 3-15 eggs which will usually hatch in 45-75 days. Boomslangs reach sexual maturity at around three years of age. Mating usually takes place in spring and early summer, and males will fight for dominance and breeding rights.

Mating takes place in a ritualised ‘dance’ in which the male boomslang tries to get close to the female, who will either accept or reject him. If accepted, the two will entwine their bodies and rub their chins together while the male deposits his spermatophore on the ground or in the female’s body. The actual copulation only lasts a few seconds, and the male will then move away and wait for the eggs to be laid.

Human Interaction

Boomslangs will often live near human settlements and can enter into inhabited areas. There have been many reported cases of boomslangs entering houses and barns, as well as small snakebite incidents.

Despite their potential danger, boomslangs are not flushed out of their habitat or destroyed by humans due to their low risk and wide range. In fact, boomslangs are considered a relatively safe species for human interaction and it is illegal to hunt or capture a wild boomslang in some countries.

Where to Find a Boomslang

Boomslangs are primarily found in sub-Saharan Africa, inhabiting savannas, woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. The most likely place to find one is in the eastern and southern parts of the continent, specifically in Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, where they live in burrows or tree hollows. They are also commonly found in houses and outbuildings, where they can be seen in roof spaces, around water tanks and sometimes inside toilets.


The boomslang is a unique and interesting snake species which is native to sub-Saharan Africa and adapts to multiple habitats. They are diurnal and highly venomous, feeding mostly on small mammals. Despite their potential danger, boomslangs are not typically hunted or killed due to their low risk and wide range. They are a fascinating species to study and can be easily spotted in their native range.

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