There are two subspecies of Amazon tree boa. Corallus hortulanus hortulanus occurs in the Guianas, Amazonia, and south-eastern Brazil (to the Tropic of Capricorn). Corallus hortulanus cooki is found in southern Central America, northern Columbia, northern Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and the southern Windward Islands (St. Vincent and the Grenada Bank). (Henderson, 1997)
Amazon tree boas are found in a wide variety of habitats. They are common in arboreal regions with high humidity, especially Amazon rainforest. They can also be found in dry areas such as savannas or dry forests (Huang 2006).
- Other Habitat Features
- Range elevation
- 0 to 900 m
- 0.00 to 2952.76 ft
- Other Physical Features
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range length
- 525 to 1880 mm
- 20.67 to 74.02 in
- Average length
- 1200-1500 mm
There is little information on wild mating. In an attempt to at least provide some relevant information, captive breeding techniques from one thorough description are summarized below:
Beginning in early November, evening temperatures drop from the stable summer temperatures of 77 to 78 degrees F to a nightly low of about 70 to 72 degrees F by the first week of December. This change is as gradual as possible in captivity. At the same time, a daytime high of 83 to 85 degrees F is introduced. These temperature gradients are important in triggering mating behaviors. After approximately 2 months of exposure to these new temperatures, most males will begin to display courtship behavior. Frequently males will shed shortly before beginning courtship. The courtship behavior consists of "tail-writhing" around the enclosure. After this has begun, the male and female are introduced and the male's courtship behavior will induce ovulation in the female. Females are also more receptive to mates if they are introduced shortly after a shed. Around March to April, the pair will have begun actively copulating. The snakes will copulate multiple times during this period. In captivity it is possible to have one female mate with multiple males, though this is not recommended as the males will often become highly aggressive and fight each other. In some cases, high levels of male aggression have been noted resulting in a dangerous situation for the female. (Mendez, 2000)
In Amazon tree boas, ovulation occurs in the female several weeks after copulation. During gestation period, females seek areas in direct sunlight or other warm areas to bask. Amazon tree boas give birth to live young. The gestation period is 6 to 8 months. Newborns will shed their skin 8 to 14 days after birth. After about 3 years, Amazon tree boas will reach sexual maturity. (Mendez, 2000)
- Breeding interval
- Amazon Tree Boas breed once yearly.
- Breeding season
- Copulation occurs between March and May.
- Range gestation period
- 175 to 200 days
- Average gestation period
- 225 days
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 3 years
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 3 years
After the young are born they are immediately independent of their mother. Male Amazon tree boas do not contribute to the care of their young. (Mendez, 2000)
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
Wild records of longevity are not available in the literature. Average lifespans for Amazon tree boas in captivity are approximately 20 years.
- Typical lifespan
- 20 (high) years
- Typical lifespan
is a notoriously aggressive species. When approached, it bites and makes an s-coil. When manipulated, it may form into a ball, constrict and rotate the body (Martins & Oliveira 1999). They are solitary and may be active at night and during the day.
Communication and Perception
Most members of the family Boidae possess infrared sensitive receptors in labial pit organs. Amazon tree boas have particularly large infrared pits, which allow them to sense heat well. An extensive study by Ebert et. al. (2006) examined the structure of these IR pits. They also have good eyesight that they use to hunt during the day. As are most snakes, Amazon tree boas are sensitive to vibrations and have good chemoreception, which is often used in communicating reproductive information.
- Communication Channels
Amazon tree boas have been reported to eat: birds (including Chloroceryle inda, Coereba, Elaenia), bats (probably Phyllostomus bicolor, Myotis), frogs (Elachistocleis), rodents (Akodon, Mus, Rattus), lizards (Anolis, Basiliscus, Iguana), and marsupials (Marmosa). These observations suggest that has a broad diet of mainly vertebrate prey. (Martins and Oliveira, 1999)
Amazon tree boas hunt at night using their infrared sensitivity or during the day using vision. They are typically ambush hunters, sitting on a branch with the front part of their body hanging in an S-shaped curve from the branch. They can strike at prey that are a surprising distance from themselves. Prey are often pushed off the tree branch as they are struck, in which cases the snake will gather the body in several of its coils. (Huang, 2006; Martins and Oliveira, 1999)
- Primary Diet
- eats terrestrial vertebrates
- Animal Foods
It has been proposed that the color patterns of Amazon tree boas helps to camouflage them from predators during the day (Martins & Oliveira 1999). (Martins and Oliveira, 1999)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
are important predators of vertebrates in their native ecosystems.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Amazon tree boas are popular pets for snake hobbyists and are a fairly common export in the pet trade. About 3,000 of these snakes were exported live from Guiana in 2002, and 1,902 were exported from Suriname in the same year (CITES 2002).
Corallus cookii (also sometimes known as Corallus cookii) was once commonly traded. However, this type of tree boa is native to only one island (St. Vincent), which has stopped exporting herpetofauna for commercial purposes (Mendez 2001) ("Export quotas for specimens of species included in the CITES appendices for 2002", 2002; Mendez, 2001)
- Positive Impacts
- pet trade
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Amazon tree boas are aggressive and will attack humans without warning, though only adults pose any serious danger to humans as this species is non-venomous. (Martins and Oliveira, 1999)
- Negative Impacts
- bites or stings
Amazon tree boa populations are not considered to be at risk.
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Kevin Winner (author), University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Kevin Omland (editor, instructor), University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- induced ovulation
ovulation is stimulated by the act of copulation (does not occur spontaneously)
(as keyword in perception channel section) This animal has a special ability to detect heat from other organisms in its environment.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
reproduction in which eggs develop within the maternal body without additional nourishment from the parent and hatch within the parent or immediately after laying.
- pet trade
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
- scrub forest
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others
uses sight to communicate
Global Biodiversity Information Facility. 2007. "Corallus hortulanus (Gartenboa)" (On-line). GBIF Portal. Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://data.gbif.org/species/13493398.
2002. "Export quotas for specimens of species included in the CITES appendices for 2002" (On-line). Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://www.cites.org/common/quotas/2002/latest.pdf.
Ebert, J., A. Schmitz, G. Westhoff. 2006. Surface structure of the infrared sensitive pits of the boa Corallus hortulanus. Proceedings of the 13th Congress of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica, 13: 215-217. Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://www.gli.cas.cz/seh/files/bonnensis/215_Ebert.pdf.
Franca, F., D. Mesquita, G. Colli. 2006. A Checklist Of Snakes From Amazonian Savannas In Brazil. Occasional Papers, 17: 1-13. Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://www.unb.br/ib/zoo/grcolli/publicacoes_pdf/Francaetal2006.pdf.
Henderson, R. 1997. A Taxonomic Review of the Corallus hortulanus Complex of Neotropical Tree Boas. Caribbean Journal of Science, 33: 198-221. Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://academic.uprm.edu/publications/cjs/VOL33/P198-221.PDF.
Huang, P. 2006. "Introduction" (On-line). Corallus.com. Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://www.corallus.com/hortulanus/index.html.
Martins, M., M. Oliveira. 1999. Natural history of snakes in forests of the Manaus region, Central Amazonia, Brazil. Herpetological Natural History, 6: 78-150. Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://eco.ib.usp.br/labvert/Martins&Oliveira-HNH-1999.pdf.
Mendez, D. 2001. "An Introduction to Amazon Tree Boas by DM" (On-line). Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://www.urbanjungles.com/bamazontreeboasb.htm.
Mendez, D. 2000. "Breeding Treeboas" (On-line). Urban Jungles. Accessed April 23, 2008 at http://www.urbanjungles.com/breedingtreeboas.htm.