Emerald Tree Boa (corallus Caninus): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: The emerald tree boa has a bright green back with white, diamond-shaped markings. The snakes have large, almost heart-shaped heads and long tails. They are not venomous (VEH-nuh-mus), that is, not poisonous, but have long front teeth— sometimes up to 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters). Adults can grow to about 7.3 feet (2.2 meters) in length.
Geographic range: The emerald tree boa lives in the northern half of South America, near the Amazon River.
Habitat: This tropical species spends most of its life in trees, often in those with branches that hang over rivers.
Diet: An ambush hunter, the emerald tree boa waits patiently in trees for birds or small mammals, including monkeys, to approach. It then strikes out, grasps the animal with its long front teeth, and wraps its prey with its strong body. It then squeezes the animal to death before eating it.
Behavior and reproduction: This snake spends most of its time coiled around or looped over branches in trees. From this perch, it watches for a passing bird or other animal for its next meal. This is a live-bearing species, which means that the females give birth to baby snakes rather than laying eggs. The babies are often red or orange, but sometimes green. All change to green as they get older.
Emerald tree boas and people: Emerald tree boas are sought in the pet trade, but laws are helping to protect them in many countries.
Conservation status: This species is not endangered or threatened. ∎
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