Boa Constrictor Facts

The boa constrictor, scientifically boa constrictor (surprisingly), is a large and heavy-bodied species of snake. Adults measure 8 to 13 feet (2.4 to 4 meters) in length, and weigh in at around 60 pounds (27 kilograms). In actuality, the odds of a boa constrictor measuring over 11 feet long is extremely rare. They can be tan, green, yellow or red depending on their location, and they display patterns of ovals, circles, diamonds and jagged lines. Despite what some people may think, a boa constrictor is not venomous at all. They are considered primitive snakes as they have 2 vestigial (remnant) hind limbs that appear as spurs on either side of the cloaca.

The boa constrictor can be found in Central and South America, as well as some of the Caribbean Islands. They can live in a variety of areas including dry savannahs and tropical forests. A boa constrictor will make its home in either a hollow log, or a burrow that has been abandoned by a mammal. They prefer to stay on dry land, but they can both climb trees and swim in the water with minimal effort. They are solitary creatures and, like all cold-blooded creatures, they will spend a decent amount of their time basking in the sun in order to get their blood temperature up. The boa constrictor is a nocturnal creature, doing its hunting under the cover of night.

The diet of a boa constrictor consists of pretty much anything that it can catch. This includes everything from birds, monkeys, wild pigs, and many other creatures. They have special, heat-sensing pits on their face that they use to detect the body heat of their prey. After a boa constrictor has located a meal, it will grab onto it with its small, hooked teeth. Once it has a firm grip, it will (as its name suggests) wrap its muscular body around its victim and proceed to suffocate it to death. Upon killing the creature, it stretches open its jaws and swallows its meal whole. Predators that the boa constrictor would need to keep an eye out for include crocodiles and jaguars.

Breeding season for the boa constrictor often occurs during the dry season, from April to August. When a female is ready to mate, she will excrete a scent that will attract the attention of males. After mating, the male and female will go their separate ways and the female will develop the eggs within her body and hatch inside. After a gestation period of anywhere from 100 to 150 days, the female will give birth to up to 65 offspring (although the average is 25). After giving birth, the mother will abandon the young ones, leaving them to fend for themselves. If the little ones can survive long enough, then they can live to be anywhere from 20 to over 35 years old (the oldest recorded boa constrictor lived to be 40 years old).

The boa constrictor is an endangered species. Loss of habitat and illegal hunting for their skin, meat, and for sale as pets are their greatest threats. They are, thankfully, protected throughout most of their range. Hopefully, such steps will help the boa constrictor to rebound and repopulate. After all, such a unique species of snake deserves to live and prosper for many years.

Works Cited

“Boa Constrictor” 20 April 2011

“Boa Constrictor” 20 April 2011

“Boa Constrictor” 20 April 2011

“Boa Constrictor” 20 April 2011

“Bio Facts: Boa, Constrictor” 20 April 2011