Emerald Tree Boa Fact File
The emerald tree boa is colored a bright emerald green across their entire body. This is broken up by rows of white scales which may form a full stripe or be a row of dots running across the back. This colouration blends in with trees and helps to break up their outline to predators.
They have a broad head for catching prey and a prehensile tail they can use to hold on to trees when climbing. Their eye has a vertical pupil to assist with sight especially at night when they are most active. They have a pit in the scales around the mouth which they use to sense the warm blood of prey species.
Inside the mouth their teeth are hidden in the gums and the teeth point backwards so prey cannot escape easily once captured. Their tongue is forked and this helps them to sense prey.
Their length may be between 1.5 and 2m (5-6.5ft) with a
weight up to 3kg (6.5lbs). Males are typically smaller than females.
They are an ambush predator and will hang with their head near the ground and wait for a prey item to run past and then strike.
Prey is captured and they then constrict it with their body and swallow their food whole.
Emerald tree boas may survive for several weeks without a meal due to their slow metabolism.
South America is the native home of the emerald tree boa. Here they can be found throughout Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.
They make their home in the tropical rainforest. Their home is often near water.
Emerald tree boas mate from May to July.
As a species of boa they give birth to live young. Their eggs develop inside the body and hatch prior to them giving birth. This process takes between 6 and 7 months.
A clutch of 10-20 eggs develop inside the female before she gives birth to them. When giving birth the remains of the embryos are also expelled.
At birth the young are often colored extremely different from the adults. While they can be the green of the adults they may be red, orange or a mix of colors. It will take between 6 months and a year for them to develop their adult coloration.
It is thought that this coloration may help them as it mimics the appearance of venomous vipers.
At birth the young are 40-50cm (15.7-19.7in) long.
After the mother gives birth to the young there is no further parental involvement.
Males reach sexual maturity at 3-4 years old with females maturing a year later.
They will typically have one clutch of eggs every two years.
The emerald tree boa is primarily arboreal spending the majority of their time in the trees.
Emerald tree boas are mostly active by night. They will rest on a branch during the day and then at night extend their body towards the ground ready to ambush prey. When at rest they form a series of loops over a branch and place their head in the middle of their body.
Predators and Threats
They face predation from birds of prey.
The emerald tree boa is captured by humans for the pet trade in small numbers but their population appears to be stable.
Emerald tree boas are a non-venomous snake and seize their prey through constriction.
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Ambrose, J., 2015. Wildlife Of The World. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Dallas World Aquarium. 2020. Emerald Tree Boa. [online] Available at:
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e.T203208A2762180. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T203208A2762180.en. Downloaded on 13 July 2020.
Paulette, D. 2008. “Corallus caninus” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 13, 2020 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Corallus_caninus/
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. 2020. Emerald Tree Boa. [online] Available at:
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