Animal of the Month
February 2016

Name: Emerald Tree Boa (A.K.A. Emerald Boa, Green Tree Boa)
Scientific Name: Corallus Caninus

Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Subfamily: Boinae
Genus: Corallus

Number of Species: 1
Size: About 5-6.5 feet long.
Weight: N/A

Characteristics: Scaly, long body with no limbs, strong prehensile tail, long, narrow head.
Color(s): Green with white stripes, yellow on the underside.
Behavior: Solitary, arboreal, only descending to the ground to move to another tree.
Preferred Habitat: Tropical rainforests
Range: Northern South America, including Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela.
Diet: Mostly small mammals and birds, sometimes small reptiles and amphibians.
Lifespan: 20 years.

Status: The Corallus Caninus is currently not evaluated.

Living in the canopy of the rainforests, the Emerald Tree Boa is like a gem of the reptilian world. These snakes can be found in Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname and Brazil. They can reach around five or six and a half feet long, though their girth appears to increase as they occur deeper in the Amazon rainforest. They especially like branches that hang over water, and only occur in areas where 59 inches of rain falls annually.

Emerald Boas live almost exclusively in the trees and only come down to move to another tree or to bask in the sun. They feed on smaller mammals and birds, and sometimes go after small amphibians and reptiles. Their green coloration is perfect for hiding in the branches of the trees. Emerald Tree Boas are not venomous; rather they constrict their prey before consuming it. They do have very sharp teeth, which helps them hold onto their prey before they start to coil around it. While these snakes are predators for many animals, they themselves are hunted by birds of prey.

Emerald Tree Boas reproduce about every two years. They breed by producing clutches of usually three-to-eight eggs, however they are ovoviviparous. This means that the eggs hatch inside the mother after a gestation period of seven months. The young will then be born live. This style of breeding allows them to stay in the trees for most of their lives.

Emerald Tree Boas are not currently evaluated by the ICUN. However, widespread, unchecked deforestation threatens thousands of animal and plant species, including Emerald Tree Boas. These snakes are also common exotic pets. If the demand for these snakes climbs too high, it will stress the wild populations. If you would like to keep an Emerald Tree Boa as a pet, please obtain one that was bred in captivity, DO NOT buy one that was taken from the wild!

To help pressssserve snakes, check out these fantastic websites:

Center for Snake Conservation—Dedicated to educating the public about snakes and to conducting scientific research for conservation (Check out their awesome “Snake of the Day” page!)

Advocates for Snake Preservation
—A new organization dedicated to changing how people think about snakes!

World Wildlife Fund
—Amazon project page


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