The Amazon tree boa is a non-venomous boa species found in South America. This species exhibits an immense variety of colors and patterns. The basic color can be anywhere from black, brown, or gray, to any shade of red, orange, yellow, or many colors in between. Some are totally patternless, while others may be speckled, banded, or saddled with rhomboid or chevron shapes. Some reds will have yellow patterns, some yellows red or orange patterns. Generally, there are two color 'phases' that are genetically inherited. The 'garden phase' refers to boas with drab coloration, mostly brown or olive, with varied patterning, while the 'colored phase' refers to animals with combinations of red, orange, and yellow coloring.
Amazon tree boas are found in South America in southern Colombia east of the Andes, southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Amazonian Brazil, Costa Rica Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. These snakes live in tropical moist forest and flooded forest of the Amazonia. They can also be found in dry areas such as savannas.
Amazon tree boas are solitary arboreal creatures. They spend the majority of their lives in the trees. These snakes are active both during the day and night. When hunting at night they use their heat pits to sense the prey, but when Amazon tree boas hunt during the day they use their vision. These snakes are known to be very aggressive. They have very long needle-like teeth, which makes their bite quite painful. However, these snakes tend to give some warning of being inclined to bite, and will usually give fairly gentle bites (which can still draw blood) unless they are given reason to give a full strike. An irritated tree boa might whip its tail and release a foul-smelling liquid, commonly referred to as "musk", that is difficult to remove.
Little is known about the mating habits in Amazon tree boas in the wild. These snakes breed once per year between March and May. They are ovoviviparous which means that the give birth to live young. The gestation period lasts 6 to 8 months. During this time females spend time basking in the sun more often than usual because this helps with the egg development. They usually give birth to up to 12 fully-developed snakelets. The young are independent at birth and will shed their skin at 8-14 days after birth. They reach reproductive maturity after around 3 years of age.
Amazon tree boas are not currently considered threatened, however, continued collection for the pet trade could impact their numbers in the future.
According to IUCN, the amazon tree boa is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Amazon tree boas play an important role in their ecosystem as they help to control populations of vertebrates they prey on.