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Red-tailed Boa

About

Common Boa snake in leaves
Photograph by Dr. Todd S. Campbell © 2003

First year: 1990

Extirpated year:

Established status: Populations are confirmed breeding and apparently self-sustaining for 10 or more consecutive years.

Estimated Florida range: 1 county  At least 10 years, 1 county  Not reported breeding

Statewide trend: Unknown status

Species Account: 

Boas are extremely common in the pet trade, and individuals sometimes escape or are released by owners. Large numbers of exotic reptiles may escape when facilities of reptile dealers are damaged by hurricanes, such as Hurricane Andrew in 1994. A "reptile fancier" supposedly released juvenile boas along the Loop Road (State Road 94) in an attempt to establish this species in the Everglades (King and Krakauer 1966). The common boa is native to Central and South America, where they occasionally reach a length of 4 m (13 ft) but are more typically around 2.5 m (8 ft) long. The back is usually yellowish, grayish, or light brown with dark brown saddles, and the tail saddles are often reddish colored. These powerful constrictors are typically active at night or during the twilight hours, and they climb moderately well. They give birth to 15 to 40 live young.

Threats to natives: 

This large, powerful constrictor feeds on lizards, birds, and mammals both on the ground and in trees. Established populations could potentially impact local populations of some vertebrate species.

References

Dalrymple, G. H. 1994. Non-indigenous amphibians and reptiles. Pages 67-71, 73-78 in D. C. Schmitz and T. C. Brown, project directors. An assessment of invasive non-indigenous species in Florida's public lands. Florida Department of Environmental Protection Technical Report No. TSS-94-100, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.

King, F. W., and T. Krakauer. 1966. The exotic herpetofauna of southeast Florida. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences 29:144-154.

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