Fun Boomslang Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Jan 11, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Diya Patel
Here are a few interesting and fun Boomslang facts
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.6 Min

The Boomslang is a highly venomous terrestrial African snake of the Colubridae family. These shy, non-aggressive snakes are also called rear-fanged snakes. The name 'Boomslang' is an Afrikaans and Dutch name and has two elements, boom means 'tree,' and slang means 'snake.' These snakes are medium-sized and slender. They weigh less than one kilogram. They are active during the days (diurnal). It is found primarily on trees (arboreal) and in bushes. Boomslangs have a thin body and a small head. They have green or brown-colored bodies. They extend their body mid-air and stay motionless until they catch their prey with the help of their large eyes. They spend most of their time on trees. Occasionally, they come down to the ground in search of food. They normally avoid desert-like dry areas. These are the only colubrid that can kill humans with slow-acting venom. The venom of these snakes makes humans bleed from every orifice, eventually causing death due to hemotoxic and blood clotting mechanisms. Depending on the gender and age, they can change color. They camouflage well in their surroundings. They have a lifespan of about eight years in the wild. Boomslangs are related to Rhamnophis, Thrlotornis, Thrasops, and Xyelodontophis, and all of them together form Dispholidni. Read on for more facts about this snake.

You may also like to read some interesting facts about the eastern brown snake and puff adder.
 

Boomslang Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Boomslang?

The Boomslang is a snake that belongs to the Reptilia class and Colubridae family. They are oviparous. The boomslang is active during the day and mostly found on trees. These species are long and highly venomous. The Boomslang venom makes humans bleed from every orifice. They retrieve and flee from creatures that are too big to eat. They have also shown cannibalistic features. They spread across sub-Saharan Africa and are restricted to this area. The Boomslang snakes go through a phase called brumate which is similar to hibernation. During this short period, they often curl up in a weaverbird's nest.

What class of animal does a Boomslang belong to?

The Boomslang snake belongs to the Reptilia class of reptiles.

How many Boomslangs are there in the world?

The exact number of Boomslang is unknown.

Where does a Boomslang live?

The boomslang snake is a native and restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. They occupy the South African regions and north through sub-Saharan Africa. They also occupy Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique. They have also been reported in Nigeria, southern Chad, and eastern Guinea.

What is a Boomslang's habitat?

This snake from Africa spends most of its time on trees with open clearings, so it is found in forest areas. The Boomslang habitat also includes the karoo scrubs, grasslands, woodlands, and savannas. They are found in areas with a high elevation of about 4000 ft. They also prefer moist regions like plateaus with high vegetation.

Who do Boomslangs live with?

The Boomslang snakes live alone except during mating season.

How long does a Boomslang live?

The average lifespan of Boomslang snake is eight years. They live longer in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

The Boomslang snakes' mating season is from July to October or December and January. These snakes are oviparous. The males sometimes involve in a ritualistic battle to access the female. Both males and females have several partners (polygynandrous). They are also known to leave hormonal trails for a female. The females deposit the eggs in rotting logs, among leaves or hollow tree trunks. The males and females do not return to the nest. Females produce around 30 creamy-white eggs. These species have a long incubation period of about three months than other snakes. The adult coloration of the boomslang babies is attained after many years. To break out of their shells, they use their unique 'egg tooth.' The female snakelets are pale brown, and the male snakelets are gray with blue speckles. The snakelets need to be fed once every two to three days.

What is their conservation status?

Currently, the Boomslangs do not face any threat, so the conversation status is not evaluated. These snakes contribute to the ecosystem as they control the populations of few animals like lizards, frogs, and small mammals.

Boomslang Fun Facts

What do Boomslangs look like?

The Boomslang snake species are 39.5-62.4 in (100-160 cm) in length with a compressed body with carinated scales. This snake from Africa has an egg-shaped and stubby small head with canthus rostralis. The Boomslangs have large eyes with pear-shaped pupils. Their eyesight is better than most snakes which helps them catch birds in flight. They are rear-fanged with seven to eight maxillary, tiny teeth. They have subequal mandibular teeth. The female and male boomslang coloring differ from each other. The male is light green-colored with blues or black scale edge. The female is bright green or olive or brown with a pale brown belly. Newly hatched Boomslangs are gray with blue patches. They have 19-21 oblique, narrow, and strongly keeled dorsal scales with apical pits. They have 164-201 ventral scales and 91-131 subcaudals with the divided anal plates. The subcaudal scales on their elongated tails are paired.

Boomslang

How cute are they?

We think they are cute because of their large eyes and bright green color. That said, they are extremely venomous and dangerous which makes them slightly less cute.

How do they communicate?

As they live on their own they don't need to communicate unless threatened. When triggered they release foul odor and enlarge their neck. They bite only when cornered. Otherwise, these species are non-aggressive and shy.

How big is a Boomslang?

The average adult Boomslang's length is 39.5-62.4 in (100-160 cm). The snakelets are 7.9 in (20 cm) and are not dangerous. These snakes become venomous when they are 18 in (45 cm).

How fast can a Boomslang move?

The Boomslang snake species is a fast tree-climbing snake. The exact speed of this snake is unknown.

How much does a Boomslang weigh?

The weight of a boomslang snake is 0.386-1.124 lb (0.175-0.051 kg). The average weight of this snake is 0.7 lb (0.3 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no particular name given to male and female Boomslang.

What would you call a baby Boomslang?

There is a particular name given to a baby Boomslang. They are usually referred to as snakelets or hatchlings.

What do they eat?

The main species of the boomslang diet are lizards, birds, and eggs. They also feed on small mammals, frogs, and other snakes. They also show cannibalistic characteristics. To catch their food they open their mouth to an angle of 170 degrees and wrap the prey with their fangs.

Are they poisonous?

Yes, they are highly venomous snakes. The Boomslang venom is known to cause hemorrhaging and respiratory arrest.

If you are wondering what to do if you see a Boomslang, here are a few pointers. Boomslangs usually stay on top of trees and are shy. While planning to travel in a high vegetated area, make sure to wear full-length pants, thick socks, and a good pair of boots. Try to avoid the tall grass. It is also advised to aware of the environment. If you come across a Boomslang, you need to remain calm and not make any sudden movements. The Boomslangs are non-aggressive and get down to the ground looking for prey. Try to walk in the other direction. Usually, when a snake encounters humans, they change their course. As they are sensitive to vibrations, simply shouting will let the snakes know about your presence. If bitten, try to put as much pressure on the area and go to the hospital immediately.

Would they make a good pet?

No. They would not make a good pet because they live in elevated vegetations preferably on a tree. The Boomslang venom is highly dangerous.

Did you know...

The symptoms of this venom were first recorded by Karl P. Schmidt, an American herpetologist. After handling several venomous snakes in his scientific career, Karl made a mistake by underestimating the bite of a juvenile boomslang. The last 15 hours of his life were documented by him.

You can be infected only by a scratch and a drop of venom. The antivenom called monovalent was developed in the '40s. A complete blood transfusion is also required after 24-48 hours without antivenom. From 1919-1962 there were eight serious cases of envenomations and only two fatalities.

They don't have a well-developed sense of smell. So, they catch their prey by detecting vibrations on the ground and picking up chemical scents by flickering their tongue.

These snakes have a full-color vision unlike other snakes and can also spot a motionless chameleon.

In the fictional movie 'Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets', the shredded skin of this snake species is used to make a potion called polyjuice.

In the novel 'Death in the Clouds' by Agatha Christie, the venom of this species is used as a murder weapon.

A Marvel Comics supervillain is named Boomslang.

Currently, this snake is the only species in the genus Dispholidus.

All about the Boomslang bite

The Boomslang venom is highly potent. They inject the venom through the fangs situated in the back of the jaw. The Boomslang bites with a wide opened mouth. The venom of this snake is hemotoxin which is a toxin the restricts blood clotting (coagulation). So, boomslang bites can cause death due to internal and external bleeding. The primary symptoms of venom are hemorrhaging and respiratory arrest. Other symptoms are nausea, sleepiness, headache, and mental disorders. Symptoms become apparent only after few hours as the venom acts slow. So, this venom causes the victim to bleed from every orifice. This is also the reason that sometimes people misunderstand the bite to be non-venomous. Also, sometimes any snake species might fail to inject venom leading to a dry bite and no noticeable effects which leads to the belief that this snake bite is not life-threatening. This snake species has around 1.6-8 mg of venom. This snake tends to bite only when you approach them or try to catch them. They make an S pose and inflate their neck only when cornered.

Boomslang adaptations

This snake species is restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. These snakes blend well in highly vegetated regions. They mimic a swaying branch by moving their head and neck from side to side. By doing so they able to notice a prey with their large eyes. They subdue their prey with their venom and swallow them. They also hunt on the grounds sometimes and can cross water bodies pursuing prey. The brown and green coloring also helps them camouflage well in their surroundings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including green tree pythons, or rattlesnakes.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Boomslang coloring pages.

Boomslang Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small mammals, eggs, birds, and snakes

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore

Average Litter Size?

30 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.386-1.124 lb (0.175-0.51 kg )

What habitat Do they Live In?

arid savannas, lowland forests, plateaus, grasslands, and karoo scrubs

Where Do They Live?

sub-saharan africa, south african regions, swaziland, mozambique, botswana, and namibia

How Long Were They?

39.5-62.4 in (100-160 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Reptilia

Genus

Dispholidus

Family

Colubridae

Scientific Name

Dispholidus typus

What Do They Look Like?

Light green and brown

Skin Type

Scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

eagles, vultures, kestrels, and ospreys

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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