Animal Diaries Archive
Meet the Boas
29 May 2008
Hi everyone, roving Jackie here. Next time you’re visiting the Zoo you may be lucky enough to meet one of our beautiful Red-tailed Boa Constrictors who are now back on the roving schedule.
This is Caramel who is one of 22 Boas born at Australia Zoo five years ago. They are amazingly beautiful snakes which reach an average of four meters in length and 30 kilos in weight, although the largest one ever found was an impressive 5.5 meters!
Their skin is patterned with varying shades of brown which serves as perfect camouflage in their native habitat of rainforests, savannah and also agricultural areas and villages throughout South and Central America.
Their hunting strategy involves lying in wait for their prey to come to them and then ambushing their prey, striking out to grab it with their mouth (they have small hooked teeth) and then coiling their very solid, muscular body around the prey to quickly suffocate it. Boas are both terrestrial and arboreal and will eat a huge variety of prey including large lizards, birds, opossums, bats, monkeys, mongooses, rats and wild pigs.
Boas generally hunt at night using heat sensitive scales to locate their prey. They have even been domesticated to some extent by some South Americans who keep them in their houses to eat rats and mice! Although pythons have the same hunting strategy, Boa Constrictors are quite different because they actually give birth to fully-formed live young instead of laying eggs like many reptiles.
Boas will live for 25 to 30 years. Unfortunately the numbers of Boa Constrictors found throughout South and Central America have declined due to hunting, habitat loss, and also collection for the popular pet trade throughout America.
Boa Constrictors are awesome snakes, so come and say hello if you see me or any of the roving crew out and about with them; you can get up close and we can tell you more about them. Boas rule!
Our Amazing Boa Constrictors
Boa Constrictors grow up to 4 metres in length and can weigh up to 30 kilograms. Boa Constrictors are truly a beautiful snake with very distinctive patterns on ...more