Amazon Tree Boa

Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo

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Characteristics

With such a wide variety of color possibilities this species is best described as polymorphic. 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.

Species Specifics

Corallus hortulanus is a notoriously aggressive species. When approached, it bites and makes an s-coil. When manipulated, it may form into a ball, constrict and rotate the body.

Physical Characteristics

Long fore teeth 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.

Ecology

Habitat

Variety of habitats, most commonly found in arboreal regions with high humidity, not uncommon to find in dry areas, such as savannas or dry forests.

Distribution

Habitats: Found mostly in the Eastern United States, Box Turtles occur as far north as Michigan and Maine, South to Florida, and as far West as Texas and Kansas. Found rarely above 1,000 feet in elevation, preferring low land habitats where water collects. Commonly associated with deciduous forests having high leaf litter and moisture these turtles are often located near rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and other bodies of fresh water, however, they are not good swimmers.

Diet

In the wild Amazon tree boas will feed on birds, rodents, bats, lizards, frogs, and even insects.

Ecological Web

Important in rodent control and managing the population of small animals, can also be food for larger birds of prey.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

This snake is considered both diurnal and nocturnal, active and hunting during the day and at night.

Behavior

Will hang from a branch using its prehensile tail as an anchor in an “S” shape and strike at prey.

Social Behavior

Solitary. Although monitors are not social, neither are they territorial. Bipedal ritual combat has been observed in the trees during the breeding season. Since their tails are so important, they defend their tails, rather than use them as whips. Black Tree Monitors in the wild are reported to be nervous and high-strung; they will flee if threatened, and if handled carelessly, will scratch, bite and then defecate on the offender.

Reproductive Behavior

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 take place December to March, birth takes place September to November. All boas are ovoviviparous, meaning they give live birth by producing eggs that are hatched within the body. The number of neonates could be 4 to 14 and each about 17 inches long.

Offspring

4-14, approximately 17 inch at birth

Conservation

Status

Considered Least Concern, but susceptible to loss of habitat and removal for pet trade.

Historical

Amazon tree boas are popular pets for snake hobbyists and are a fairly common export in the pet trade. About 3,000 of these snakes were exported live from Guiana in 2002, and 1,902 were exported from Suriname in the same year.

Current Threats

Habitat Loss

Our Role

Exhibit and Educate

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How You Can Help

When considering a pet, although Amazon tree boas do make good pets due to their aggressive nature, make sure to ask where the animal comes from and never purchase an animal taken from the wild.

Fascinating Facts

The Amazon tree boa is also known as the Garden tree boa.

Amazon tree boas are aggressive and will attack humans without warning, though only adults pose any serious danger to humans as this species is non-venomous.

Of all the Gerrhosaururidae lizards (Plated lizards) they are the most armored.

References

http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Corallus_hortulanus/

http://www.sfzoo.org/animals/reptiles/amazon-tree-boa.html