Brazilian Rainbow Boa

ANIMAL:
Brazilian Rainbow Boa Epicrates cenchria

Type of Animal:
Boa/Python

Habitat:
Humid forest/woodland, open savanna, rivers, drainage areas

Location(s):
Amazon Basin of Brazil, Guiana Shield, S Venezuela

Appearance:
Round bodied, reddish brown to maroon to bright orange w/ 3 parallel black stripes on top of head, large black rings down back, fairly slender, richly marked, variety of different morphs in captivity, females larger than males, males have thicker tails

Food/Diet:
Rodents, birds, lizards, bats, amphibians, fish

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, aquariums, wildlife centers, & herpetoculture

Lifestyle:
Solitary

Additional Info:

Called:
Male
Female
Young: Snakelet
Group: Solitary

Weight:
Male: 3.5 lbs
Female: 5-7 lbs
Young: 2 oz

Gestation:
5 months 

Life Span:
15-25 years

Body Length:
Male: 5.5-6 ft
Female: 6-7 ft
Young: 3 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 0.4 ft
Female: 0.5 ft

Main predators of adults are raptors, crocodilians, & carnivorous/omnivorous mammals. Young preyed on by small mammals & reptiles.
 
Like most boas, they’re ovoviviparous, w/ young developing in membranous egg sacs inside female. After 5 month gestation, she’ll give birth to 2-35 live young.
 
Like all boas, they kill prey by constriction & swallowing whole.
 
They’re ambush predators but sometimes actively search for prey.
 
Though mostly terrestrial, they have prehensile tail for climbing trees.
 
Rather secretive in the wild, mostly being nocturnal.
 
Sexually mature at 2-2.5 years old.
 
They’re excellent swimmers if need be.
 
Heat sensing pits on jaw help locate unseen prey.
 
Beneficial to humans due to controlling rodent populations.
 
Substantial numbers exported in 1980s & early 1990s, especially from Suriname.
 
They shed at least once a month w/ 1st shed occurring 10-14 days after birth.
 
Breed once or twice a year.
 
Like most snakes, they have poor eyesight, relying instead on taste/smell.
 
They sense smell using tongue.

Fun Fact(s):
Parthenogenesis (virgin birth w/ no male fertilization) has been documented on rare occasions.
 
While younger animals can be nippy, adults tend to be very docile.
 
Can be decent pets.
 
Named for iridescent skin which refracts light, creating rainbow-colored effect.
 
Often called BRBs in herpetoculture. Also called slender boas & rainbow snakes.
Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Brookfield Zoo, taken by me

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