Scientific Name: Boa constrictor
The common boa can also be referred to as the red-tailed boa or Colombian red-tailed boa.
Boas grow quickly and begin eating live prey soon after birth. They can reach full size by the time they are three years old, and females are generally larger than males.
STATUS: Not endangered.
HABITAT: They have an extensive distribution from Mexico, to Central America to Argentina. They tend to like warm, tropical areas, and will laze in a warm location – sometimes with part of their body or tail in water. They can be arboreal, especially when small.
DIET: Their carnivorous diet consists mainly of mice sized animals to large rat-sized ones, and depending on size may eat larger animals such as birds and monkeys. They do not eat every day and perhaps only once a week. During cooler winter months they may forgo eating entirely. They do not eat carrion, only live food.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: This is a rather long snake with a strong prehensile tail. Large boas can weigh 40 to 50 pounds and attain a length of 4 ½ to 8 feet. Maximum size purportedly approaches 13 feet. They come by the moniker “red-tailed” honestly – the tips are usually speckled with red blotches that decrease as they continue up their bodies, which are usually tan or brown and can have variations of black or dark brown patterns. Variations are numerous, and some albino boas have been documented.
Many snakes, such as rattlesnakes or vipers, are venomous, and so their fangs are hinged to better sink into their prey and deliver the venom. Boas, on the other hand, are constrictors, and consume their prey by suffocation. Their teeth, then, do not deliver any poison when they bite, and are fused to their jaw. They are still sharp and dangerous, however. They shed their teeth and grow new ones throughout their lives.