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 their bodies. They are generally creamy brown to light brown in colour and patterned with ovals and diamonds. These patterns camouflage particularly well in the dappled light of the rainforests. Boas are ambush predators and rely on this camouflage to capture their prey.
You will find Boa Constrictors throughout South and Central America in rainforests, agricultural land, semi arid scrub areas and they can even be found in local villages.
As their name suggest, Boa Constrictors constrict their prey. This involves the snake tightly coiling around the prey, not crushing it, but severely restricting movement. As the prey breathes out the tightening coils prevent the prey from inhaling. Very quickly the prey item asphyxiates (suffocates). To accomplish this, Boa Constrictors are extremely muscular and usually heavy bodied snakes. The Boa Constrictor will prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles and generally hunts at night.
Boa Constrictors become sexually mature at about 2-3 years of age. They are solitary animals except during the breeding season. Mating occurs about once a year. Unlike its close relative, the python, Boa Constrictors give birth to fully formed live young. They will usually bear up to 50 young during the summer months. The young begins feeding within a week or two after its birth and grows quickly.
Certain island populations are at threat from habitat destruction and collecting for the pet trade. Some island populations may already have been eliminated.
Boa Constrictor Profiles
Weight: 10kg (22lbs)
Nicole; The mother of them all... One of the most popular parts of Australia Zoo is our wandering wildlife program, giving visitors an up close look at some of the Zoo's animals. Reptiles play a major role in the program, particularly the Boa Constrictors. We have 20 juvenile Red-tailed Boas that brave the crowds in order to try and educate guests about how fascinating snakes and reptiles are. Special mention should be given to a very special snake, Nicole.
Nicole is the proud mother of all these little super stars. Weighing in at around 10kg Nicole's roving days are over, instead she has now become one of the regulars in the Australia Zoo Snakes Live show. Boa Constrictors are native to South America, unlike Australian pythons Boas give birth to live young!
Ricky the Boa Constrictor was born in 2003, and his mum Nicole still resides with us here at Australia Zoo. Ricky is one of the boas we regularly rove around the Zoo, and we also use him in our Wildlife Warriors show in the Crocoseum.
Boa Constrictors are a very gentle yet strong willed snake, and are always interesting and challenging to work with.