Madagascar Ground Boa

The Madagascar Ground Boa or Malagasy Ground Boa (Boa madagascariensis), is a non-venomous species of snake native to the island of Madagascar. It occurs mainly in the central and northern parts of the island. Its habitat is sparse, open woodland. It shelters in mammal burrows, fallen trees, wood piles and other debris and areas that offer protection. It hibernates during the cool and dry winter months (May through July).

Adults may grow to about 10 feet long, but usually average 8 feet. It is the largest snake species on the island of Madagascar. Females are typically larger than males. The color pattern consists of a pale reddish-brown ground color mixed with gray, overlaid with a dorsal rhombus pattern outlined with black or brown. Sometimes this creates a vague zigzag impression. The sides are patterned a series of black ovoid markings with reddish blotches, often bordered or centered with white.

Mating takes place after emerging from hibernation. Females may be courted by and copulate with more than one male.
Ovoviviparous, females give birth to 4-6 large young after a long gestation period of 4-6 months. Neonates are 19-24 inches in length and are already capable of feeding on small rodents and birds. The diet consists of small mammals and birds for adults.

This species is listed as Vulnerable on the
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ca. 2006). Threatened by deforestation, human population growth, and agricultural development, it has been considered endangered since 1977.