Boa Constrictor [NON-NATIVE]



Scientific name: Boa constrictor (LINNAEUS 1758)
* Currently accepted name

* scientific names used through time

  • Boa constrictor – LINNAEUS 1758
  • Constrictor formosissimus – LAURENTI 1768
  • Constrictor rex serpentum – LAURENTI 1768
  • Constrictor auspex – LAURENTI 1768
  • Constrictor diviniloquus – LAURENTI 1768
  • Boa constrictrix – SCHNEIDER 1801
  • Boa diviniloqua – DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844

Description: Average adult size is 64.5 inches (164 cm), record is 99 inches (252 cm). A stout-bodied snake with hour glass-shaped brown blotches. The blotches on the posterior portion of the body and tail are darker and typically reddish. The scales are smooth. The pupil is elliptical, a cat-like vertical slit. There are deep facial pits along the upper lip. Juvenile pattern is similar to that of adults, except that coloration is lighter and may be pinkish.

Range: In Florida, although this snake has been introduced in many areas it is known to be established only in and around the Charles Deering Estate in Miami, Miami-Dade County. Outside Florida, the species occurs from Mexico south to Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, as well as Dominica and St Lucia in the Lesser Antilles. It has also been introduced and established populations in Puerto Rico, Cozumel Island, Aruba, and possibly Curaçao.

Habitat: In Florida, this species has been found in tropical hardwood hammocks, pine rocklands, landscaped areas, and along canals and oolitic limestone walls.

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous).

Historical information, along with the current presence of all size classes and gravid females, suggest that Boa Constrictors have been at Deering since at least the 1970s. Females are known to give live birth. The record clutch size in Florida is 33 live and one stillborn young ranging from 43-52 cm total length (TL) and 54-75 g from a female (ca. 200 cm TL, but missing most of tail; 9.1 kg). However, one large female (238 cm TL, 14.5 kg) deposited 47 infertile ova.

A boa captured on 13 August 2001 at Deering had eaten an opossum (Didelphis virginiana). Boas >270 cm TL from Deering fed upon only dead raccoons (Procyon lotor) once in captivity.

Boa Constrictors can cause severe lacerations with their bites, as well as constrict.

Comparison with other species: The Boa Constrictor cannot be confused with any other snake as its markings are quite distinct.