Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus caninus)
Adults can grow to well over six feet in length. Their body is bright green with white zigzag striping on the dorsal surface that sometimes resemble lightning bolts. The underside is yellow. They have a bulky head with heat-sensing pits under the upper lip to help in locating warm-blooded prey. They have a thin neck and stout body. Their tails are prehensile so they can grasp things and it helps keep them in place both while draped over a branch, and also when they strike for prey.
Their teeth are quite long, which makes it easier for them to hold onto their meal as they constrict it before swallowing it whole. They have highly developed front teeth that are proportionately larger than those of any other non-venomous snakes. Their front teeth are often incorrectly called “fangs”. Fangs are connected to venom glands, and Emerald Tree Boas are nonvenomous.
Young Emerald Tree Boas vary in color from light orange to brick red. They change into their trademark green over their first year of life. This process is known as ontogenetic coloration.
They are arboreal, which means they are perfectly adapted for life in the trees, and can spend their entire lives above the ground. They are largely nocturnal. In the wild, they spend a great deal of time during the day coiled over a tree branch with their head right at the center. At night, Emerald Tree Boas remain coiled on the branch but will extend their head downward to wait patiently for something to eat.
Females are slightly heavier than males at around four pounds. Males are two to three pounds.
Canopy foliage of lowland tropical rainforests.
Amazon Basin region of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and from Venezuela to Surinam and the Guianas.
Carnivores –small mammals, some smaller bird species, lizards and frogs. The Emerald Tree Boa has a slow metabolism and may sometimes go months without eating.
Up to 25 years in captivity.
One of the most surprising things about Emerald Tree Boa reproduction is that females are ovoviviparous. That means they do not build nests and lay eggs. They create eggs, but the eggs hatch inside of their bodies before birth.
Female Emerald Tree Boas usually have clutches of around 5 to 12 babies. Baby snakes are called snakelets or hatchlings. Their clutches can reach as high as 20, but this is uncommon. It is sometimes unclear how many babies are actually gestated by an Emerald Tree Boa. When they give birth, they push out both living young and the oozing remains of unfertilized eggs and embryos. They might carry a lot more babies than what actually survives in the end.
Emerald tree boas are pregnant for roughly 6 to 7 months.
Emerald Tree Boas don't care for their young at all. Snakelets are independent from the moment that they're born. They learn how to survive on their own.
Least Concern but habitat destruction is raising the concern.
March 17 may bring thoughts of The Emerald Isle but we’d like you to think of the Emerald Tree Boa in our Rainforest habitat. Emerald Tree Boas are beautiful, non-venomous snakes that can be found in the rainforests of South America. Their brilliant green coloration and white pattern helps them blend into the tree branches in which they live. Emerald Tree Boas present an interesting contradiction in that although they live around the Amazon River, they don't swim. They are arboreal, which means they are perfectly adapted for life in the trees, and can spend their entire lives above the ground.
Come observe our two beauties in the Rainforest building next time you visit. They may be very still, since they are largely nocturnal. In the wild, they spend a great deal of time during the day coiled over a tree branch with their head right at the center. At night, Emerald Tree Boas remain coiled on the branch but will extend their head downward to wait patiently for something to eat.
Rainforest Building open daily from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm