Species group: Rear-fanged Snakes
Other common names: Madagascar Night Snake, Madagascar Common Snake, Madagascar Cat-eyed Snake
Scientific name: Madagascarophis colubrinus
Shy and secretive, as well as venomous, Malagasy Cat-eyed Snakes are best considered as suitable for zoos rather than private collections. A professional herpetologist should be consulted before one acquires a Rear-Fanged Snake of any species. While fatalities have not been reported, severe reactions to bites have occurred, and the possibility of a serious allergic reaction must be considered.
The Malagasy Cat-eyed Snake is limited in distribution to southern Madagascar, where it is at home in arid thorn scrub, spiny forest habitats, overgrown fields, and village gardens.
Appearance / health:
The Malagasy Cat-eyed Snake reaches 100 cm (39 in) in length. It is generally colored tan, brown or olive, and marked with a variety of dark oval blotches, bars, and spots.
This secretive, nocturnal snake is not often seen in zoos or private collections. Most in the trade are wild caught, and should be checked for parasites and other health concerns. Fungal skin infections will develop in damp exhibits.
Behavior / temperament:
Malagasy Cat-eyed Snakes are secretive and easily stressed. As with all Rear-Fanged Snakes, they should not be handled.
An average adult can be kept in a 30-55 gallon aquarium. Cypress mulch, eucalyptus bark and similar materials are preferable to newspapers as substrates, as they are most comfortable if able to burrow. A water bowl, filled to a point where it will not overflow when the snake enters, should be available. Ambient temperature: 78-85 F; Basking temperature: 90-92 F.
Malagasy Cat-eyed Snakes feed on frogs, chameleons and other lizards, snakes, and rodents. Captives often prefer rodents that have been scented with a frog or lizard.
Females produce clutches of 8-15 eggs which hatch in 75-85 days when incubated at 80-84 F.
Written by Frank Indiviglio