Boa, Rosy

Rosy Boa at the LA Zoo Photo Credit Jamie Pham

Scientific Name: Lichanura trivirgata

Rosy boas are excellent climbers, stretching their body from a fixed point, then drawing together before pushing out again.

The rosy boa is a mild-mannered snake, in keeping with its small stature (two feet long). If the rosy boa can’t hide from a predator, it will try to fool its enemy by making its tail appear to be its head. The boa curls itself into a ball, with its real head in the center, raising its tail and moving it back and forth to create the appearance of a snake head ready to strike.

It Pays To Be Doubly Sure

Like other boas, most of which are much larger, the rosy boa takes a two-step approach to catching food. First it strikes out at prey with open jaws, grabbing hold with rear curving teeth to prevent escape. At the same time it wraps itself around its target and squeezes.  When the victim stops struggling, indicating it has expired, the boa swallows its prey.

Its popularity as a pet has seen the proliferation of the snake, through commercial breeding, to fill the needs of the pet trade. Rosy boas are not listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Rosy boas live in the Western United States and northwest Mexico. They are shy and terrestrial, burrowing into loose soil.

In the wild, they feed on nestling wood rats and other small mammals. They are popular pets, and in captivity are quite satisfied to eat commercially available mice.

Only two feet long as an adult, this small sand type boa has three distinct orange stripes running the length of its silvery gray body. In fact, that is how it got its scientific name (trivirgata).

Back to Top