Specializing in captive born and bred reptiles

TNB Exotics

The Common Boa Constrictor, (Ssp. Boa Constrictor Imperator), originates in Central America and the northern part of South America. It is one of the most beautiful commonly kept reptiles in captivity today. Although there is a large variation in size, color and locality specific boas within the BCI sub-species, the vast majority of 'Common Boas', or as sometimes inappropriately referred to as a 'Red Tail Boas', come from the northern-most parts of Colombia. Boa c. constrictor is the variety of Boa constrictor which provided the basis for the original description of this taxon, the so-called nominate form. A list of the countries in which Boa c. constrictor occurs already demonstrates the huge range of this subspecies. Consequently, it is by no means astonishing that this subspecies, like Boa c. imperator, has developed an enormous variability.

Thanks to its usually bright red tail coloration, Boa c. constrictor enjoys considerable popularity in captivity. The friends of this species have coined the term ‘red-tailed boas’ to name it. The bat-shaped saddle patches (which are called ‘widows’ peaks’) considerably contribute to the popularity of this subspecies.

One thing must be qualified, however, as Boa c. constrictor from certain parts of the distribution area do not have red but brown or even dark brown tails.  The saddle patch pattern may vary as well. For example, Boa constrictors from Peru (and some animals from Suriname, too) may present saddle patches which are shaped like hourglasses.

Boa constrictor constrictor

Common name of Boa c. constrictor ‘Red-tailed Boa’

Distribution area Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

Estimated average length of mature female Boa c. constrictor Approximately 1.90 to 2.20 m (6.2 to 7.2 ft)

Next to Boa c. constrictor, the ‘imperator boas’ inhabit the most extensive range colonized by any Boa constrictor. Their variability, however, even exceeds that of the red-tailed boas. We know various keepers of Boa constrictor who deliberately limit themselves to keeping Boa c. imperator because these animals are less demanding and hardier than Boa c. constrictor, Boa c. amarali or Boa c. occidentalis.

Boa c. imperator is smaller than Boa c. constrictor (exception: the Colombian imperators). The common boa has an essentially higher number of middorsal blotches (up to 30) than Boa c. constrictor.

The imperators from Colombia were the first Boa constrictor subspecies imported in a large number to Germany in the mid 60s. Their robust constitution and calm temper make these boas the ideal snakes for the beginner.

Boa constrictor imperator

Distribution area Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru

Estimated average length of mature Boa c. imperator females Cannot be made, considering the enormous variability of the specimens found in this species’ distribution area.

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