Boa constrictor Boa Constrictor


  • Boidae


  • Wild: Around 20 years.
  • Captivity: 25-40 years.


  • Length: 6-13 feet (longest on record is 18 feet)
  • Weight: 40-50 pounds


  • Central and South America


  • Deserts, wet tropical forests, and open savannas


  • Wild: Reptiles, mammals, and birds
  • Zoo: Frozen thawed rats


  • Boas reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age.
  • The female attracts a male with a special scent she emits.
  • Fertilization is internal.
  • Boas are ovoviviparous, meaning they produce eggs that hatch within the body so that the young are born live.
    • 20-60 young are produced in one litter.

Special AdvantagesBoa Constrictor

  • The boa has wonderful camouflage to resemble leaf litter.
  • They are also great swimmers; however, they prefer to remain on land.
  • To hunt, snakes stick out their forked tongue to collect scents.
    • Once collected, the snake will insert the tips of the forked tongue into its Jacobson’s organ, where the data can be analyzed.
    • The Jacobson’s organ interprets the chemicals such as pheromones to aid the snake with finding its next meal, or even a mate.

Boa Facts

  • The boa is an ambush hunter and lies in wait of its prey to come to it.
  • The boa uses its teeth to catch prey, but as it is a constrictor, it squeezes and suffocates its prey before swallowing it whole, usually head first.

Unique Characteristics

  • The boa constrictor can hiss loud enough to be heard 100 feet away.

Conservation Status

  • The number of boas is dropping because of habitat destruction and the skin trade.

Boa Constrictor


  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012.
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012.