Emerald Tree Boa

(Corallus caninus)

Habitat and Distribution: Found in lowland tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin from Venezuela through Brazil to northern Bolivia.

Size: Up to 10 feet (average 4-6 feet). Females are larger than males.

Wild Diet: Rats, monkeys, bats, squirrels, lizards, and birds

Predators: Harpy eagles and guianan crested eagles

Lifespan: Unknown in the wild; 15- 25 years in zoos

Reproduction: Emerald tree boas are ovoviviparous, meaning that eggs hatch internally and young are born live. They breed between April and July. Females deliver up to 20 babies after a 6-7 month gestation. Each baby is about a foot long and weighs about 1.5 oz. Babies are born able to climb and can fend for themselves from birth, requiring no maternal care.

Behavior: Emerald tree boas are strictly arboreal, mostly nocturnal, and solitary except when mating. They are not venomous. Heat-sensing organs on the upper lip help them locate prey and detect nearby predators. To feed, they may constrict their prey or crush it between their jaws. Although they primarily eat mammals, they have been observed catching birds mid-flight! Long, powerful fore teeth enable them to penetrate the feathers of the bird so that it isn't dropped during feeding.

Conservation

IUCN Status:  Not Evaluated

Emerald tree boas are not considered threatened.

Did you know?

  • Their pupils are vertically oriented, like a cat’s.
  • When babies are born, they are bright yellow, orange or red, but their color gradually changes as they mature.  They reach full green coloration by about four months of age.
  • Snakes rely on their powerful sense of smell to detect predators and prey. They flick their tongues to collect molecules and read these signals by inserting the tongue into a special organ, known as the Jacobson’s Organ, at the base of the nasal cavity.
  • The emerald tree boa has many more heat sensors around its mouth compared to other boas.
  • They sit in trees in a coiled shape replicated only by the green tree python, though these snakes are not closely related.
  • Their tail is prehensile, meaning that it can be used to grasp or hold objects. Emerald tree boas are so strong that they can even grip with their necks!