Boomslangs are variably colored. Greens, blacks, and grays are most common.
Are you old enough to remember the term “junk” or “trash” snakes? No?
Well these were terms once used by importers for the “unordered” snake species that they received (and were expected to pay for) on each order of imports. They were usually common, often rear-fanged species (such as guarda caminos (road guarders)), tree snakes, genera Philodryas and Ahaetulla, cat-eyed snakes (Leptodeira and Boiga) and if the order was from Africa, boomslangs!
The boomslang (boom=tree, slang=snake in Afrikaans), Dispholidus typus, is a wide spread, very common, arboreal species that African dealers tried desperately to sell with each and (almost) every valid order from each and (almost) every American dealer. The boomslang, a rear fanged colubrine taxon, has a complex and dangerous venom. This was learned in the hardest and most indelible way by herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt, who suffered a bite from one and documented the effect of the venom that proved lethal 24 hours later.
Of variable color and pattern, the 3 ½ to 6 foot long boomslang may be black, gray, green or more rarely brick red. The green(ish) eyes of this lizard and frog eater are proportionately large, and especially so on juvenile examples.
The boomslang is no longer a commonly imported species, and rather than being a “disposable” taxon are now coveted by many venomous keepers.
My how the times have changed!
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