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

Other names: Common boa, Red-tailed boa

First year: 1990

Extirpated year:

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

Estimated Florida range: One county for at least 10 years

Statewide trend: Unknown status

Species Account: 

Boa constrictors are extremely common in the pet trade, and individuals sometimes escape or are released by owners. Large numbers of nonnative reptiles may escape when facilities of reptile dealers are damaged by hurricanes, such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992. A "reptile fancier" supposedly released juvenile boa constrictors along the Loop Road (State Road 94) in an attempt to establish this species in the Everglades (King and Krakauer 1966). The boa constrictor 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.


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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