Madagascar Tree Boa

The Madagascar Tree Boa or Malagasy Tree Boa (Boa manditra), is a non-venomous species of boa endemic to the island of Madagascar. It is the only species in this genus or family. Its habitat is trees and shrubs near streams, rivers, ponds and swamps. It is generally nocturnal and feeds on bats and birds. It will occasionally leave the trees to hunt for small mammals on the ground.

Adults average 48 to 60 inches in length, with some specimens growing to 84 inches. Females are typically larger than the males. There are two color variations that are considered by some to represent two different subspecies. One variant is green to grayish-green and is found in the eastern half of the range. The second variation is yellow, orange and brown and occurs more to the west. The green variation tends to be smaller than the other as well.

Females are ovoviviparous and give birth to up to 12 young at a time. When females become gravid, their skin color darkens. This adaptation provides increased heat absorption for the developing young. After giving birth, the color returns normal as soon as it next sheds its skin. Neonates are a bright red that may warn predators to “stay away”, while simultaneously providing camouflage among brightly colored treetop flowers.