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Amazon Tree Boa

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Is the Amazon Tree Boa right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Garden Tree Boa; Garden Boa; ATB

Scientific name: Corallus hortulanus

The basics:
Extremely variable in color and pattern, Amazon Tree Boas have long been favorites of snake keepers and breeders. Although not a species for beginners, or those interested in handling their pet (and in remaining unscarred by the process!), these feisty beauties do well if provided proper captive conditions.

Amazon Tree Boas range from southeastern Columbia east through southern Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname and south through the Amazon Basin to southeastern Brazil.

Highly-arboreal, they prefer wet rainforests, but are also found in forest corridors along rivers, dry forests, and sometimes in brushy grasslands.

Appearance / Health:
Individual Amazon Tree Boas may vary so much from one another as to appear to be of different species. The background color may be various shades or combinations of black, gray, yellow, orange or red, patterned with blotches, spots, stripes and other markings, or completely un-marked. The head is bulky and set off from the thin neck. Amazon tree boas average 4-5 feet in length, with occasional individuals approaching 7 feet.

With proper care, captive longevity sometimes exceeds 15 years. Dry sheds are common in terrariums where the average humidity is below 50%, but skin infections will take hold in overly-damp environments or those lacking air circulation. Air circulation that allows the tank to dry out after misting is essential.

Behavior / temperament:
Amazon Tree Boas will resist being forcibly removed from their perches by biting repeatedly. As many individuals will remain immobile if perch and snake are relocated together, detachable perches should be considered. In general, they are best considered as snakes to observe rather than handle.

Housing:
Cage height is desirable, but narrow cages should be avoided as Amazon Tree Boas move over branches, rather than to the floor. An enclosure measuring at least 3 x 3 x 4 feet (l x w x h) will accommodate an average adult. Larger enclosures that allow for spot-cleaning without disturbing the snake are preferable. Front-opening terrariums are ideal, as they are stressed by approaches from above.

Well-anchored branches of varying widths should be installed. Sturdy live and artificial plants may be hung from the branches to provide security. Douglas fir and eucalyptus bedding will raise the humidity if kept moist. Humidity should be kept at 50-75% via spraying, moistening the substrate or a commercial mister, and the cage should have ample air flow.

An ambient temperature of 74-83 F and a basking temperature of 88 F should be established. Large enclosures are necessary if a thermal gradient is to be established. Thermal gradients allow snakes to regulate their body temperature by moving from hot to cooler areas.

Diet:
The staple captive diet is small to medium mice. The use of large food items has been linked to intestinal blockages. As Amazon Tree Boas are nocturnal, feeding is best done after sunset. Scenting a pink mouse with a frog or anole may induce reluctant youngsters to feed.

Amazon Tree Boas prefer to drink water sprayed onto their bodies and the foliage, but a water bowl should be available. Elevated bowls should be employed if your snake does not descent to the cage floor to drink.

Breeding:
In common with all boas, this species bears live young. Mating occurs from December to January in most parts of the range. The young, 2-12 in number, are born after a gestation period of 160-190 days. They range in length from 14-20 inches, and feed largely upon lizards and treefrogs.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

wonderful

beautiful snakes, vibrant orange, colorful variability, amazing colors, good eaters

challenging

truly vile temperment, advanced arboreal species, needs high humidity, long teeth, beginners

interesting

arboreal snakes, wide perches, low traffic area, primarily display, display snake

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