Red-tailed boa

Boa constrictor constrictor

At the Zoo

South American Tropical Rainforest and Aviary

Fascinating Facts

  • Red-tailed boas are ambush hunters; they will squeeze their prey, killing it by shutting down blood supply to vital organs, and swallow it whole. A large meal can sustain them for up to a month.
  • They have prehensile tails that they can use to grip tree branches.

Physical Characteristics

Adults can reach up to 10 feet in length and can weigh between 15-50 pounds. They are brownish-grey with black markings and are more reddish in color towards the tail. Babies are about 14 inches in length and weigh 2 ounces when hatched.


Red-tailed boas are found in hollow logs, abandoned burrows or hanging from tree branches in woodlands and tropical forests from Colombia south to northern Argentina. They feed on small mammals, amphibians, birds, eggs and other snakes.

Social Behavior

They are nocturnal, hunting primarily at night. Red-tailed boas are solitary, only coming together to mate. Females incubate the eggs inside their bodies, giving birth to up to 60 live babies after 4 – 8 months of gestation, depending on conditions.

Status In The Wild

Not yet assessed by IUCN

They are threatened by habitat loss, being taken from the wild for the pet trade, and being hunted for their skin.

Animals & Exhibits