Animals / Reptiles

The Amazon Tree Boa

Синонимы и названия на других языках

The Macabrel, Cook's tree boa, Common tree boa, garden tree boa

Gartenboa, Hundskopfboa (German).

Классификация

Order: squamata

Family: booidea

Genus: boa

Species: corallus hortulanus.

Subspecies: C. h. hortulanus – the nominative subspecies, C. h. enydris.

Ареал

The Amazon tree boa is native to South America. C. h. hortulanus can be found in southern Columbia, to the east of the Andes and in southern Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.  C. h. enydris lives on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and in Venezuela.

The Amazon tree boa prefers damp rainforests and scrubs, the lower range of mountains and flood lands. It can also be seen near residential areas: in towns and villages. 

Внешний вид

The Amazon tree boa grows to an average of 150 and 180 cm, although much longer specimens (up to 2.5 m long) have been reported.

Males and females have similar size and coloration. Males have long tails that are thicker at the base; females’ tails are shorter and without thickening. Also males have distinct tarsal claws (rudimental limbs) on the sides near cloaca.  Females don’t have them as visible. In addition, females are usually bigger and heavier than females.

The species demonstrates a wide variety of colors and patterns. New morphs are constantly being bred. 

Характер

It is a nocturnal and arboreal species that seldom gets down.

The Amazon tree boa normally hunts from an ambush.

This species is only suitable for experienced breeders! 

Содержание и уход

The Amazon tree boa needs a horizontal tank at least 130х60х90 cm in size. The boa should be kept alone. You should put a heat mat or a heat cord at the bottom of the tank in order to maintain the necessary temperature. For substrate you can use coconut husks, turf, pine tree bark or even a mat with artificial grass. The boa will need a couple of big logs to climb on. A water bowl is a must, and it should be big enough to fit in the boa completely. This is required for proper shedding too. The water has to be changed daily.

The ambient temperature should be around 23 – 25°C at night and up to 32°C at daytime.

The air humidity should be around 70%, so you will have to mist daily.

The Amazon tree boa needs 14 hours of light per day. It is preferable to get the snake out in the sun in summer. In the enclosure a UV lamp is a must. 

Кормление

In the wild the Amazon tree boa eats small mammals (bats and rodents), birds, sometimes lizards. 

In captivity the boa’s menu mainly consists of rats and mice. You can add to the diet quails, chicken, hamsters, guinea pigs. You should add to the food mineral supplements and vitamins.

Adult snakes should get 7-9 rats 200-300 g each every 8th or 10th day. Young snakes should get 1-3 adult mice every 5th day or 1-2 small rats.

The hatchlings can be fed with young mice or 5-6 days old rats.

Особенности

The Amazon tree boa is famous for its bad temper. When they are irritated, they actively attack any source of heat. Taking into account their snappish nature and heat sensitive pits, their bites can be very painful, so you should be extra careful when you interact with this snake.

It is a large species that requires a big tank.

Live feed is a must.

The Amazon tree boa is not venomous but its bites are painful. 

Болезни

Retrovirus (IBD) has lately become a plague for breeders and those who love boas and some other kinds of snakes. For a while boas can be the carriers of this disease without showing any symptoms, so even if you buy a snake which is healthy in appearance, you cannot be sure that later the virus won’t develop. It is very difficult to check a snake for this virus, there is no guaranteed method.  

If the snake refuses to eat, it can be caused by stress, unsuitable food, or it can happen that the snake just is not hungry.  You should not try and force the food into the snake: they can live without food for a long time without any damage for their health. You should only start worrying if your snake doesn’t eat for several months. Then you need to analyze its living conditions and the menu prior to this situation. In worst case you might need to force-feed the boa.

The snake can vomit because of stress, illness or if the prey was too big. Also it can vomit if it was fed during shedding or if the temperature in its enclosure is not suitable. After vomiting you mustn’t feed the snake for 7-10 days, and then you can offer it food taking into account the previous mistakes.

Shedding is not a disease, it is a necessary step in the snake’s growth. Its eyes get milky, their color grows paler and the skin starts coming off. During this time you should be extra careful about the humidity and clean water in the enclosure.

Mites are small parasites that live on the snake’s skin. They stick on the snake’s body between the scales and suck its blood. This can make the snake lethargic and it can turn down the food.  To get rid of mites you need to use the weak solution of the same medicine which is used against ticks on cats and dogs. You will also have to disinfect the whole enclosure.

Respiratory diseases are usually caused by potentially pathogenic bacteria if the immune system of the snake doesn’t function properly either due to a stress or to unsuitable living conditions. The symptoms include gasping, open mouth, runny nose. These diseases are treated by the injections of antibiotic called Baytril. 

Разведение

It is an ovoviviparous species (the eggs develop in the snake’s body and after a while the young snakes hatch). The shell resolves in the female’s genital tract.

The boa constrictor is sexually mature at the age of 3,5-4 years. To stimulate mating, you will need to arrange brumation period: you should decrease the temperature in the tank and the amount of hours of light. When you get to 8 hours of light a day, you should stop feeding the snakes, take away the water and switch off the heating for the night. When the amount of hours of light reaches 4 hours, you can switch off the heating completely. The temperature in the enclosure during brumation period should be 16-18 degrees and you will have to continue misting the enclosure. The brumation lasts for 1-2 months, and then you should gradually increase the temperature and the amount of hours of light. Once you start feeding the boas, they can be put together. In the beginning of the mating season the male normally stops eating. After copulation the female stops eating too. You should separate the snakes and put in the female’s tank sphagnum to maintain humidity. The pregnancy lasts from 150 to 200 days, and as a result 7-60 hatchlings come out. They can be fed after the first shedding.  

Average life span is up to 30 years. 

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