Amazon Tree Boa


ORDER: Squamata

FAMILY: Boidae

GENUS: Corallus

SPECIES: hortulanus

DESCRIPTION:
With such a wide variety of color possibilities this species is best described as polymorphic. The colors can range from blacks, grays, browns, greens, yellow, orange, reds, or any combination of these colors. Interestingly enough genetics seem to have no effect on coloration or pattern. Although the color and pattern can vary greatly, the body style is very consistent. Amazon Tree Boas are slight of build and long, they average 4-6 foot in length.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Between southern Central America and south-eastern Brazil there are two subspecies of Amazon tree boa. (Corallus hortulanus & Corallus cooki) Within this range you can find them in a variety of habitats, most commonly found in arboreal regions with high humidity, it is not uncommon to find them in dry areas, such as savannas or dry forests.

DIET:
Carnivorous. In the wild Amazon tree boas will feed on birds, rodents, bats, lizards, frogs and even insects. By day this constrictor will hunt by sight, by night it will use its infrared sensitivity to locate prey. In captivity they are fed every two weeks on mice.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Longevity records of wild specimen are not readily available. Captive average lifespan is approximately12-20 years. Females reach maturity at the age of 3-4 years, males can be mature at 1 year of age but normally are not of size to mate with an adult female. Breeding takes place December to March, birth takes place September to November. All boas are ovoviviparous, meaning they give live birth. The number of neonates could be 4 to 14 and about 17 inches long. It takes about 2 weeks to shed before they are ready to feed. Amazon tree boas are solitary, this snake can be both diurnal or nocturnal.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Long foreteeth enable tree boas to penetrate the feathers of birds and hold on to them. Large heat sensing labial pits located on the upper lip increase the ability to sense heat, therefore supporting their night hunting.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
This arboreal non-venomous snake must strike fast and often to survive in the forests, while using its prehensile tail to anchor itself to branches while eating.

OUR ANIMALS:
The Amazon Tree Boas can be found in the RAD Room in the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo.

STATUS IN WILD:
Amazon tree boas, are not endangered, but loss of habitat and removal for pet trade is a concern. Listed as a species of Least Concern by IUCN.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Grzimek, Bernhard. 1984. Grzimek
  2. Internet: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Corallus_hortulanus/
  3. Internet: phoenixzoo. org; rogerwilliamszoo.org. 2000.
  4. Pinney, Roy. The Snake Book. 1981. Doubleday & Co., Garden City, NY. p.111.