Colombian Rainbow Boa
Scientific Name: Epicrates cenchria maurus
This snake has heat-sensitive labial pits (small organs found inside its lips) allowing it to triangulate and aim a strike at warm-blooded prey which it then constricts and eats whole.
Like most snakes, the rainbow boa is solitary, and lives and hunts alone except during breeding season. They are one of the smaller species of boas, and so their preferred meals are large relative to their size. This means they only need to eat about once every ten days.
STATUS: The loss of jungle habitat is negatively impacting the future population of the rainbow boa.
HABITAT: The rainbow boa is found from Costa Rica to Argentina, which is a range similar to that of the boa constrictor. It is primarily a jungle dweller and can only survive in very high humidity (70 – 80%).
DIET: This snake eats rodents captured on the ground. It also climbs trees where it can catch bats and small birds.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Columbia rainbow boa is a slow-moving snake that rarely reaches a length of more than four feet. Its color is a mixture of reddish browns, with black splotches surrounded by white. There are many variations of these patterns, and they often fade as the snake ages. In the sunlight it looks to be iridescent, appearing to have rainbow hues.
In a Nutshell
Rainbow boas spend most of their time on the ground, but they love to climb rocks and trees. Like other boa species, rainbows give birth to live young, usually about 12 – 15 at a time. The baby boas raise themselves and are ready to catch and eat their first live prey by the time they are a week old. They have been reported to live to be 25 years old in captivity.