Northern Boa

Northern Boa

Common northern boa, Colombian boa, Central American boa, Red-tailed boa, Colombian red-tailed boa

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
Boa
SPECIES
Boa imperator
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
20-40 yrs
WEIGHT
6 kg
LENGTH
1.3-2.5 m

The Northern boa is a large, heavy-bodied, nonvenomous snake that is commonly kept in captivity. It lives in both Central America and northern parts of South America and as a result, the appearance of this snake varies greatly depending on the specific locality. One population is found on the Cayos Cochinos (Hog Islands) off the northern shore of Honduras. These are naturally more lightly colored, although they retain the distinctive darker tail that is characteristic of most members of this species. The color of the tail may vary from salmon-pink to orange. Another well-known population of the Northern boa is the population from Nicaragua. They typically have a compact saddle pattern on their backs that is often circular in shape. These boas have also a reputation for being "nippy", with some individuals being quick to bite in self-defense.

No

Nocturnal

Cr

Crepuscular

Ca

Carnivore

Te

Terrestrial

Ar

Arboreal

Am

Ambush predator

Pr

Precocial

Po

Polygyny

No

Non-venomous

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

N

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Northern boas are found in Mexico, Central America, and South America west of the Andes Mountains (primarily Colombia). They can acclimatize to a variety of environmental conditions, from tropical rainforests to arid deserts; however, they prefer to live in rainforests due to humidity, temperature, cover from potential predators, and ample prey.

Northern Boa habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Northern boas generally live on their own and do not interact with any other snakes unless they want to mate. They are nocturnal but may come out to bask during the day when night-time temperatures are too low. As semi-arboreal snakes, young boas may climb into trees and shrubs to forage; however, they become mostly terrestrial as they become older and heavier. Northern boas are ambush predators and use constriction as the primary means of killing their prey. These snakes strike when they perceive a threat. Their bite can be painful, especially from large snakes, but is rarely dangerous to humans. Specimens from Central America are more irascible, hissing loudly and striking repeatedly when disturbed, while those from South America tame down more readily. Like all snakes, Northern boas in a shed cycle are more unpredictable, because the substance that lubricates between the old skin and the new makes their eyes appear milky, blue, or opaque so that the snake cannot see very well, causing it to be more defensive than it might be otherwise.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Northern boas are carnivores. Their diet consists mainly of rodents, birds, lizards, and frogs.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
April-August
PREGNANCY DURATION
100-120 days
BABY CARRYING
10-65 young
INDEPENDENT AGE
at birth
FEMALE NAME
female
MALE NAME
male
BABY NAME
snakelet

Northern boas are polygynous meaning that males mate with multiple females. The breeding season usually takes place from April to August. During this time females produce a scent that attracts males, and males fight each other for mating rights. After the gestation period of 100-120 days, the female will give birth to 10-65 live young. Baby boas are born precocial; they are fully developed and don't require parental care.

Population

Population threats

The major threat to Northern boa is over-collection for the global pet trade. This species is one of the most common snakes kept in captivity; this is mainly due to their calm dispositions, impressive size potential, and variety of color and pattern choices. Since the 1980s, around 115,131 individuals have been exported to many countries between 1989 and 2000. The other potential threat to these large and beautiful snakes is deforestation which may result in loss of suitable habitat and thus fragmentation of populations.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Northern boa is unknown. However, there is an estimated population of the species on Cayos Cochinos Menor (Honduras) which includes 632 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

References

1. Northern Boa on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boa_imperator
2. Northern Boa on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/203879/2771951

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About