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Amazon tree boa
- Corallus hortulanus

The Amazon tree boa it is a popular pet with snake fanciers and is a fairly common export in the pet trade.
Amazon tree boa
Amazon tree boa – Tambopata, Mother of God, Peru. – Geoff French, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Origin / Distribution

There are two subspecies of Amazon tree boa. Corallus hortulanus hortulanus is found in the Guianas, the Amazon and southeastern Brazil (to the Tropic of Capricorn). Corallus hortulanus cooki is found in southern Central America, the north of Colombia, the north of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago and the southern Windward Islands (San Vicente and the Bank of Granada).

Characteristics / Appearance

The Amazon tree boa is well known for its highly variable color and patterns. They have small vestigial hind limb remnants in the cloacal region. Its base color varies from pale tan to black., with yellowish and reddish hues. They are marked by a series of spots or bands that are usually wider in the middle of the back.. The head has five dark stripes that extend from the eyes..

The color of the belly is also variable, from cream to reddish brown, and with or without darker markings. Eyes may be yellow, grayish or reddish, and they have a reflective membrane that makes them shine at night. the tongue is black. Males and females are similar in size and markings.. Its length varies between 525 and 1880 mm, usually between 1200 and 1500 mm.

Life expectancy

There are no records of longevity in the literature. The half life of Amazon tree boa in captivity is about 20 years.


The Amazon tree boa found in a wide variety of habitats. They are common in arboreal regions with high humidity, especially in the Amazon rainforest. They can also be found in dry areas, such as savannas or dry forests.

Most of the Corallus hortulanus specimens studied are found at 1 or 2 m or more from the ground in trees or other vegetation. They have also been observed active on the ground. The Amazon tree boa also relatively common along rivers.


Amazon tree boa
Corallus hortulanus at the João Moojen Zoology Museum (Museum of Zoology João Moojen, MZUFV) at the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), in Viçosa-MG, Brazil. – Mateus S. Figueiredo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Amazon tree boa it is a notoriously aggressive species. when threatened, bites and curls. when it is handled, can form a ball, contract and twist the body. They are solitary and can be active both at night and during the day..


Courtship behavior consists of “move the tail” around the enclosure. Once it has started, the male and female introduce themselves and the courtship behavior of the male will induce ovulation in the female. Females are also more receptive to mates if they are introduced soon after a molt.. Between March and April, the couple will have begun to actively copulate. Snakes will copulate several times during this period.

In captivity it is possible for a female to mate with several males., although not recommended, since the males usually become very aggressive and fight each other. In some cases, high levels of aggressiveness have been observed among males, which has caused a dangerous situation for the female.

In the Amazon tree boa, ovulation occurs in the female several weeks after copulation. During the gestation period, females seek out areas with direct sunlight or other warm areas to bask in the sun. The Amazon tree boa gives birth to live young. The gestation period is 6 to 8 months. Newborns shed their skin between 8 and 14 days after birth. After a few 3 years, the Amazon tree boa reaches sexual maturity.

Once the pups are born, are immediately independent of their mother. The males of the Amazon tree boa they do not contribute to the care of their young.


It has been reported that the Amazon tree boa feeds on 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 the Amazon tree boa has a wide diet of mainly vertebrate prey.

The Amazon tree boa hunts at night using its infrared sensitivity or during the day using vision. They are typically ambush hunters, settling on a branch with the front of its body hanging in an S-shaped curve of the branch. They can attack prey that are at a surprising distance from them. Prey are often pushed off the tree branch when struck, in which case the snake will pick up the body by coiling on it.

Threats to the species

State of conservation ⓘ

Status Minor Concern ⓘ (UICN)ⓘ

Threats to the population
The Amazon tree boa not currently considered threatened, However, continued collection for the pet trade could affect their numbers in the future.

population number
According to the IUCN, the Amazon tree boa it is locally common and is widespread throughout its range, but no global population estimate is available. In the news, this species is listed as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and their number is stable.

ecological niche
The Amazon tree boa plays an important role in its ecosystem, as it helps to control the populations of vertebrates on which it feeds.

The "Amazon tree boa" in captivity

The Amazon tree boa it is a popular pet with snake fanciers and is a fairly common export in the pet trade. In 2002 some were exported 3.000 of these live snakes from Guiana and 1.902 from Suriname in the same year (CITES 2002).

The Corallus cookii was once an object of trade. However, this type of tree boa is only native to one island (San Vicente), that has stopped exporting herpetofauna for commercial purposes.

The terrarium

terrarium for "Amazon tree boa"

In general, these snakes do well in captivity and are easy to care for in a terrarium. Adult animals need a terrarium of at least 60 x 45 x 60 cm per animal. Large specimens should be housed in a more spacious enclosure.


Provide adequate shelter, especially in the upper part of the terrarium. Use lots of horizontal branches and hang plants between them where animals can hide. You can also use hollow cork logs for them to climb and hide. Animals will almost never spend time on the ground, but a good soil captures residues and facilitates the maintenance of higher humidity. Think, for example, in a coco peat soil mixed with bark and leaves and/or moss.

Temperature and humidity

Young animals need high humidity throughout the year, while adults naturally have a drier period from August to October. High humidity is especially necessary for younger animals to ensure they shed properly. If this species is kept too dry, it usually sheds its skin in parts and it is not uncommon for remains of the old molt to remain attached to the tail. If these debris go unnoticed the circulation at the tip of the tail can be cut off and it could die and fall off..

The average temperature should be 25C on the cool side and 27C / 29C on the warmer side. Of course, they are not basking animals and to thermoregulate they move between warmer and cooler sections in the forest or garden. in the terrarium, this usually means that the temperatures in the highest section of the terrarium are higher than those in the lower parts. Therefore, make sure there are plenty of places to climb and hide in all areas and sections of the terrarium. Heating can be done with a solar point (ceramic) or a thermal panel against the roof of the terrarium. Make sure that you Amazon tree boa cannot come into contact with the lamp or can curl around it, as this can cause a burn.

Yes, you Amazon tree boa it's a lot on the ground, this may be due to health problems, to excessive temperatures in the upper part or to the lack of hiding places in the upper layers of the terrarium. Note that also pregnant females usually lie on the ground before giving birth..


The Amazon tree boa lends itself well to a bioactive setup. In this case, it is best to use an LED or fluorescent tube to illuminate the enclosure. illuminate from 11 to 13 hours a day.


The Amazon tree boa it is very easy to feed, if it moves and is hot it will be prey. Young animals can be fed pinkies which are replaced by fuzzys as they grow. When they reach 12 months of age usually feed on prey such as the jumping mouse. Adult animals feed well on a diet of adult mice and chicks.. Make sure the dam is not too big, since they are very thin snakes. Hatchlings and juveniles can be fed once a week, While the (sub)adults can feed on one prey every 14 days.

Buy one "Amazon tree boa"

The price of a "Amazon tree boa" at the exotic animal market, ranges between 300 – 600 EUR.

Videos "Amazon tree boa"

Alternative names:

    1. Amazon tree boa, Macabrel, Cook’s tree boa, common tree boa, Garden tree boa (English).
    2. Boa d’Amazonie, Boa de cook (French).
    3. Hundskopfboa, Gartenboa (German).
    4. Suaçubóia, cobra-de-veado (Portuguese).
    5. "Boa arborícola amazónica", Cascabel dormillon, Boa arborícola (español).
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