The Red-tailed Boa, Boa constrictor, is a species of boa and the second largest member of the Boidae family, following the Anaconda. The name “red-tailed” boa actually refers to the only one subspecies of boa constrictor, the true red-tailed boa.
Adult Boas can reach from 5 to 12 feet in total length. However they can grow to more than 14 feet as one in captivity is proof. They have an attractive and interesting pattern of brown to reddish-brown or black “saddles” or dorsal blobs of color on a lighter background color which can range through white, golden, gray or brownish, pink, with reddish brown tail.
Female boas produce live offspring instead of laying eggs. Fertilization by the male is internal. During copulation, females can cling to the male via a small set of “spurs” that are generally hidden below scales on either side of the vent and are actually remnants of the hind legs. The gestation period of boas is 108 days after the post ovulation shed.
They feed on a variety of species ranging from small rodents and lizards to large birds, coati, iguana or opossum. They favor bats through much of their range, catching them as they hang in trees or caves, or snatching them on the fly. They locate prey via heat sensitive scales on their snout, as well as by scent. Large boa are occasionally preyed upon by jaguar and caiman. Smaller subspecies or young boas may be eaten by a variety of species, including various jungle cats, birds of prey, and even some species of crab.