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Emerald tree boa

Corallus caninus

Description: The Emerald tree boa is bright emerald green with broken white or yellow stripes and yellow underside. Like all snakes, the emerald tree boa is cold-blooded; they are the same temperature as the environment. The head has rather large bulges on either side at the back of the head, giving the head a heart-shape before attaching to a narrow neck. The “fangs” of the Emerald tree boa are not for the delivery of a venomous bite, but are long enough to capture prey. It has a very strong prehensile tail.

Size: The average length of the Emerald tree boa ranges between four to six feet (1.2-1.8 m) but have been reported to reach lengths of 10 feet (3 m) long. Females are larger than males.

Behavior: Emerald tree boas are arboreal and during the day are usually seen draped in a coil over a horizontal branch with head resting in the center.

Diet: They are ambush predators. Staying coiled on a branch during the day, these nocturnal hunters extend the head and neck down at night, waiting for prey to get within striking distance. It eats arboreal small mammals (squirrels, rodents, monkeys, bats), birds and lizards. After striking its prey with its curved, long teeth, it suffocates it by constriction and swallows it whole. They can go for several weeks between meals.

Senses: The large thermoreceptive pits around the mouth are very visible and are used to detect heat given off by potential prey. The pupils of their
eyes are vertical, assisting in seeing movement. The forked tongue senses odors.

Reproduction: Emerald tree boas are ovoviviparous (eggs hatch internally and bear live young) producing, on average, 10 to 20 young. The newborn snakes are deep brown-orange with white bars and are about one foot (0.3 m) long. Gestation is six to seven months.

Habitat/range: Emerald tree boas are primarily found in the lowland tropical rainforest of the Amazon basin in northern South America from Brazil to Bolivia.

Status: Not listed as of concern with IUCN or CITES.