Red-tailed Boa

STATUSLeast Concern


DIETsmall mammals, birds, eggs, and other reptiles

RANGECentral and South America

HABITATrainforest clearings and edges, as well as woodlands

Red-tailed Boa

Physical Description

Red-tailed boas reach on average 6-8 feet in length, but there have been individuals that have reached 10 feet in length, though this is rare. Females tend to be larger than males. Boa constrictors are gray, cream, or brown with dark saddle shaped bands. At the end of the tail the spots become a red/brown color. A large, black stripe runs the length of each side of the head passing through the eyes. 


Juveniles are vulnerable to predation from birds of prey, mammals, and larger reptiles. Humans are the main predators of adult boa constrictors.


In the wild, red-tailed boas can live 20-25 years and under human care can live 25-40 years.


Breeding season is usually during the dry season from April to August but can happen throughout the year. Most female boas are not reproductively active every year, but every other year. Female red-tailed boas are ovoviviparous, which means that females will lay eggs inside their bodies, the eggs hatch inside the body, and the mother will give birth to live young. After a gestation period of 4-8 months, females will give birth to anywhere from 10-64 babies, but the average is 25. Baby red-tailed boas are about a foot long and completely independent. They mature between 2-3 years old.

Fun Facts

  • Boa constrictors have good vision and can see into the ultraviolet light spectrum. They can also detect vibrations on the ground and through the air using their jaw bones. 
  • In some areas boas constrictors can play a large role in controlling population of opossums which can be carriers for the human disease leishmaniasis, which is transferred by blood-feeding sand flies that parasitize the opossums. 
  • Boa constrictors like to eat bats! They catch them by hanging from tree branches or the mouth of caves and knocking the bats out of the air as they fly by. 

Conservation Messaging

Many snake species are becoming more popular in the pet trade. Red-tailed boas are large snakes and can live for quite a long time, and many people are not properly equipped to handle such a large snake species. While reptile might seem like an easy pet, you may not realize just how much work goes into caring for them. By purchasing and owning an exotic animal, you could be supporting the illegal exotic pet trade. Oftentimes these exotic pets are taken out of their natural habitat to be sold in the pet trade, which can be detrimental to wild populations. One more exotic pet in captivity is one less animal in the wild which is resulting in species population numbers dropping drastically. 

Be sure to fully research any pet before buying one. While you may think a reptile would make a cool pet, it’s important to know all of the care that goes into providing that animal with the best possible welfare, and as mentioned before reptiles require a lot of extra care. It is important to make sure that if you do buy an exotic pet that you are buying it from a reputable breeder, someone who knows how to properly care for the animal and hasn’t taken that animal from its natural habitat. 


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