Ringed Tree Boa

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Is the Ringed Tree Boa right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Annulated Tree Boa

Scientific name: Corallus annulatus

The basics:
The Ringed Tree Boa ranges from eastern Guatemala south through Central America to Columbia and (perhaps) Peru; it may be absent from Ecuador and Belize. Like the 8 related boas in the genus Corallus, it is highly arboreal, but unlike them is also occasionally found on the ground. The Ringed Tree Boa inhabits rainforests, secondary growth thickets, fruit plantations and overgrown gardens.

Appearance / health:
Ringed Tree Boas vary greatly in appearance throughout their range, but are always spectacular…small wonder they have a dedicated following among reptile keepers! In contrast to most snakes, they are also able to change or modify their coloration somewhat. The body may be brownish-red, orange or brick red in coloration, and is marked with black rings or a lace-like pattern of lines. Typical adults measure 5 feet in length, with some approaching 6 feet. The German name for tree boa means “Dog-Headed Snake” - a comment on the chunky head and unusually-long, sharp teeth.

Behavior / temperament:
Tree Boas are, as a group, notoriously short-tempered and difficult to tame. However, some Ringed Tree Boas are an exception to this rule. Still, their long teeth and longer strike-ranges demand respect, and they are best considered as pets to observe rather than handle.

Ringed Tree Boas are best housed in vertically-oriented tropical rainforest terrariums of at least 55 gallons in size, or custom-built cages. The enclosure should be provided with sturdy climbing branches similar to the width of the snake’s body. They are native to humid tropical environments, and require high cage humidity, especially while shedding. Dry areas must be provided as well. Live plants, twice-a-day misting, and the use of coconut husk or a similar substrate will help to create proper humidity levels. Hanging live or artificial plants should be positioned over branches to act as sheltering sites; some individuals will also utilize small “bird houses” as retreats. Fresh water in a large pan should be available. Like many arboreal snakes, Ringed Tree Boas will also drink from water sprayed onto the body coils. Day temperature: 72-75 F; night temperature: 70-74 F; basking temperature: 85 F; humidity: fluctuating between 60-85%.

Ringed Tree Boas are best kept singly outside of the breeding season. Droppings should be removed in a manner that does not disturb the snakes. Detachable branches that allow you to remove both perch and snake when necessary are recommended for high-strung individuals.

Ringed Tree Boas feed upon small arboreal rodents, possums, birds, bats, frogs, and lizards. Their staple captive diet is mice. The use of large food items has been linked to intestinal blockages. Youngsters feed primarily on frogs and lizards in the wild, and may refuse mice. Scenting a pink mouse with a frog or anole may induce feeding.

The mating season extends from January through March, but captive conditions can alter this. Like other boas, this species gives birth to live young, usually less than a dozen 12-inch-long babies at a time. Lowering nighttime temperatures to 69 F, reducing day-length, and increasing the humidity will help to induce breeding. Youngsters may differ markedly in coloration form their parents; jet-black hatchlings become brownish as they mature.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


escape artist


removable branches, sturdy climbing branches, long strike radius, Tall cages, preferred frogs

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