Common boa

Common boa

Boa constrictor

Common name:

Common boa

Scientific name:

Boa constrictor

Alternative common names:


The boa constrictor is a large snake that can reach lengths of anywhere from 0.91 – 3.96m. They generally live on their own, and do not interact with any other snakes unless they want to mate. Their bite can be painful, especially from large snakes, but is rarely dangerous to humans.They are popular within the exotic pet trade, and are bothcaptured in the wild and bred in captivity.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Central America and Mexico.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA – Category 2.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo Province.

How does it spread?

Human beings are responsible for the spreading of this snake species through pet trade.

Why is it a problem?

It feeds on birds, mammals and other snakes. Established populations of these snakes could potentially impact local populations of some vertebrate species. They also serve as potential hosts for parasites and diseases of economic and human health significance.

What does it look like?

Description: The boa constrictor is a large snake that can reach lengths of anywhere from 0.91–3.96m depending on the locality and the availability of suitable prey. The average size of a mature female boa is between 2.1–3m, while the males are 1.8–2.4m long. It is common for female boas to exceed 3m, particularly in captivity, where lengths of up to 3.7m or even 4.3m have been seen. The boa constrictor is a large, heavy-bodied snake. Its body markings consist of beige blotches on a dark brown background.

Habitat: The boa constrictor flourishes in a wide variety of environmental conditions, from tropical rainforests to arid semi-desert environments. However, it prefers to live in rainforests due to the humidity and temperature, natural cover from predators and a vast amount of potential prey. It is commonly found in or along rivers and streams as it is a very capable swimmer. A boa constrictor will also occupy the burrows of medium-sized mammals, where it can hide from potential predators.

Breeding: Female boas incubate eggs inside their bodies and give birth to up to 60 live babies. Boas are about 0.6m long when they are born and grow continually throughout their 25- to 30-year lifespan.

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