Bo is a Columbian Red-Tailed Boa. He is about 7 years old.  He is approximately 6 feet in length and weighs about 25lbs.

Red-tailed boa is a common name.  There are 10 subspecies that fall under the species Boa constrictor.

 

Species Subspecies Common Name
Boa Constrictor Boa constrictor amarali Amaral’s boa
Boa constrictor constrictor Red-tailed boa
Boa constrictor imperator Common northern boa
Boa constrictor longicauda Tumbes Peru boa
Boa constrictor melanogaster Ecuadorian boa
Boa constrictor nebulosa Dominican clouded boa
Boa constrictor occidentalis Argentine boa
Boa constrictor orophias St. Lucia boa
Boa constrictor ortonii Orton’s boa
Boa constrictor sabogae Pearl Island boa

Size & Weight
On average, red –tailed boas average 3 to 13 feet in length.  Their size depends on their locality and availability of food.  Female boas are generally larger in both length and girth, ranging from 7-10ft. in length, while males range 6-8ft.  It’s not uncommon for boas to exceed 10ft. in captivity, reaching up to 12-14ft. in length.  These snakes can reach weights of around to 60lbs.  The red-tailed boa is the largest of the boas, as the other subspecies are generally smaller.

Coloration
The colors of red-tailed boas vary by their location, but generally are brown, grey or cream-colored with patterns that are brown and red all along the back of the snake, like saddles.  As the patterns reach the tail, the coloration turns into a more deep pronounced red color, thus giving the snake its name.  Their coloration works as excellent camouflage in the jungles and forests that it inhabits.  The eyes of the boa have a coloration that matches the coloration of its body, making it appear as if its body pattern flows unbroken through its eyes.

Habitat & Distribution
Boa constrictors can be found in a wide range of environments, from semi-desert areas to tropical jungles and rainforests. Red-tailed boas are found down in South America.   The main habitat for the red-tailed boa is the tropical rainforests and jungles, as the humidity and temperature, cover offered by foliage and more prey offer an ideal location for living.  They are common around rivers and streams, as red-tailed boas are adept at swimming.

Lifestyle
Boa constrictors are generally solitary animals, only coming together for breeding purposes.  The boas are most active at night, making them a nocturnal animal.  They are known of being out in the sun during the day time, when night time temperatures drop too low. Red-tailed boas are semi-arboreal, being able to explore through shrubs and into trees while still young.  Once they reach a certain size, they tend to stick to being a terrestrial snake, as it gets harder and harder to life their heavy bodies up into the canopy.  When the red-tailed boa feels threatened, they give a clear warning to “back off” by exhaling loudly. If further threatened, the red-tail boa isn’t afraid to strike out in defense. Boas are more unpredictable, just like all snakes, when they are in their shedding cycle.  When shedding, the boa’s eyes become milky or opaque, a result from the substance that lubricates the old skin from the new skin.  As a result, the vision of the snake is hindered, making the snake more defense than normal.

Diet
Red-tailed boas are carnivorous, eating a range of mammals, birds and reptiles.  Some prey items include:  rodents, lizards, amphibians, birds, bats, and larger mammals such as ocelots.  As its name implies, the form it uses to kill its prey is by constriction.  The red-tailed boa has two rows of needle-like teeth on the top jaw and one row on the bottom.  It generally takes the snake about 4-6 days to digest its food, and then it can go a week to a couple months without eating again.

Reproduction
Red-tailed boas are known as ovoviviparous, meaning they have “live” birth.  This is in contrast to the belief that all snakes are oviparous, or egg-laying.  Ovoviviparous animals are ones that carry the eggs inside them until birth, where they break out of a thin mucous membrane upon birth.  The thin mucous membrane acts as the “egg” that houses the snake when it’s inside the mother snake.  True live birth is known as viviparous, where there is no internal egg structure.  Examples of viviparous animals would be mammals.  The litter size can range anywhere from 10 to 65 young, with the average litter being around 25 young.