Scientific name: Boiga irregularis
Other common names: night tiger, doll’s eye snake
Status: Least Concern in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992)
Nest boxes used: no preference, Nocturnal and Arboreal
Food: Juveniles feed on lizards; Adults feed on birds, bats, eggs and small mammals.
The brown tree snake is found in northern, eastern and southern Australia (commonly along the coastline down to Sydney). It is generally found in forest covered areas including woodlands, rainforests and even some urban areas. During the day they use tree hollows, rock faces, crevices and rafters in buildings to shelter. Because this snake is nocturnal, a nest box is an ideal place to shelter during the day and a safe place to lay eggs. The female brown tree snake lays her eggs (4-12) either in rock crevices or tree hollows.
Since tree hollows are hard to come by in some areas, nest boxes are perfect refuges. The brown tree snake is rear fanged, venomous, and has a broad bulbous head. This snake has a long slender body, sometimes up to 2 metres in length. They are often a medium brown colour with a series of darker markings or bands. However they can also be a creamy pink underneath with darker makings barely visible. This snake species is sometimes called the night tiger because of rich reddish brown and creamy white banding (this form is usually found in Northern Australia). Because of their rear fangs envenomation of humans by this species would be highly unlikely. The brown tree snake is one of 3 species of snake that can be found using nest boxes.
This species of snake was introduced to the island of Guam in the Pacific in WWII and has now become a pest. It is threatening many of the native birds on this island to extinction, as the brown tree snake is such an unfamiliar predator to these birds who have evolved without the presence of this snake.
Article - Hollow Log Homes.
Photograph - Alan Wynn.