Emerald Tree Boa

Emerald tree boas spend their entire lives away from the ground, gripping tree branches with their coils. The snake's bright leaf-green body has flashes of white running across its back that help it to blend in with the forest foliage. This camouflage keeps the snake safe from predatory birds, such as owls and eagles.

Tree boas hang from sturdy branches and wait for small birds to fly by or small mammals to pass beneath them. The snake's eyes have vertical pupils. Just like small cats, this makes them better at sensing the movements of small prey in the gloom of the forest. Tree boas also have heat-sensitive pits on their snouts, which allow them to detect the body heat of prey moving near them. The emerald tree boa waits, ready to pounce, with its upper body in an S-shape. When a prey animal comes close enough, the tree boa lunges forward and grabs it in its mouth. The snake's backward-curving teeth stop victims from struggling free. It is the most fast-moving of all boas and is also a good swimmer.

The emerald tree boa has a long, slender body with a prehensile tail that is used for gripping branches. The snake's camouflaged body is reinforced down each side, like a girder, so it is powerful enough to reach across open spaces between branches.

During mating, the male entwines his tail with the female's. The female gives birth to between 3 and 15 young. The young snakes are red or orange for the first year of their lives.

Distribution: Northern South America.

Habitat: Rainforest.

Food: Birds and mammals.

Size: 1.5 – 2 m (5 - 6.5 ft).

Maturity: Not known.

Breeding: Young born live.

Life span: 40 years.

Status: Common.

Gallery of Emerald Tree Boa