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Colombian Boa Constrictor

Common Boa, Colombian "Red Tail" Boa

Family: Boidae Columbian Boa, Boa constrictor imperator, Common BoaBoa constrictorPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Chrissy Thomas
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My RTB was very quickly moving towards our sleeper sofa's 'innerds'. Knowing he'd probably disappear in there close to forever - like an idiot I engaged in a tug of... (more)  Boots

   The Colombian Boa or Common Boa has an exotic appearance, and is considered by many to be the most beautiful of the constrictors.

   This attractive snake is desirable because it is readily tamed and easy to maintain. The captive born and raised Colombian Boas are usually very docile. They can easily be kept by a beginner as well as the experienced herptile keeper. Very young snakes are delicate and subject to illness so look for small adults.


Dr. Jungle says... "What's in a name? Lets hear from the expert....!
Picture of a Columbian Boa or Common Boa
Boa constrictor imperator
Photo © Animal-World: David Brough

"The Boas that we see imported by the thousands from Colombia are not True Red Tailed Boas as they are Boa c. imperator which is found West of the Andes Mountains.

"These Colombian boas are considered to be non red tailed (although they do possess a red tail). They are instead referred to as "Common Boas " or Colombian Boas.

"True 'Red Tailed' Boas are the nominant race, Boa c. constrictor. The True Red Tailed Boas are the boas found East of the Andes Mountains in South America (Surinam, Guyana, Brazil, Peru, etc. ).  They get much larger than Colombian Boas and have very deep red tails." ...Vin Russo

Vin Russo is one of the top breeders and most well-respected boa experts in the United States Cutting Edge Herpetological Inc.

For more Information on keeping Snakes see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Herptile

Geographic Distribution
Boa constrictor
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Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Boidae
  • Genus: Boa
  • Species: constrictor


   The Colombian Boa or Common Boa is found throughout a large range of South America. They are found in Colombia of course, but also in Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Hogg Island, Venezuela, and more.


   The Colombian Boa constrictor will grow to between six and nine feet, though they can reach up to 12 feet. The males are smaller than the females. This snake is robust, with a triangular head separated from the body by a thin neck.
   Their natural coloring is a pattern of elongated, saddle like, pale gray patches on a background of rich chocolate to almost chestnut brown. The sides are paler with dark brown, diamond shaped spots that have white centers. The undersides are yellowish, spotted with black. The chestnut brown coloring becomes progressively brighter until it is a brick red or pure red, and they are thus sometimes called the 'Colombian Red Tailed Boa'. This name is a bit misleading as the True Red Tail Boa Boa c. constrictor, is the nominant race. (See the box above.)


    They are a constrictor and their diet consists of mice, rats, small rabbits and the large snakes can also eat chickens. Feed once or twice a week, depending on the size of the food and the size of the snake. As you get to know your snake, you'll learn what its feeding needs are. Fresh water in a good size water dish should always be available.


   These snakes are best kept singly except when they are being bred, but you may be able to keep them with other snakes the same size as long as you feed them separately.
   The Colombian Boa constrictor needs a good size cage. Its' housing can be set up as a woodland type terrarium, but keep the decor to the minimum. See the terrarium set-ups described under Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care for more information. A good size water dish will provide moderate humidity as well as a place for soaking and drinking. A heavy limb for climbing on, resting on, and to aid in shedding makes the perfect decor.

Temperature and Lighting requirements:

   They do well at 82° to 95° F in the daytime and 72° to 80° F at night. Full spectrum lighting is important for your snakes well being and its long-term maintenance. You can use a substrate heating device for basic heating. For additional heat, you can add a full spectrum incandescent daytime bulb and a blacklight bulb or red incandescent bulb for nighttime heating. Be sure you use a thermometer so you don't let the terrarium become overheated!

Bolivian Amarilli Boa, Boa constrictor amarali
Bolivian Amarilli Boa Boa constrictor amarali Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Greg Rothschild

   For more detailed information see the Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care: Housing.


   These snakes, if not babies, need to be probe sexed for positive sex identification, and they bear live young. Their gestation period can range from four to six months. The litters are large with up to 30 babies, each about 24 inches (61 cm) long and resembling the coloring and patterning of their parents. They are fairly easy to breed in captivity.


  The Colombian Boa constrictors or Common boas are very common and readily available due to captive breeding.

Author: Clarice Brough, CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Colombian Boa Constrictor

Boots - 2014-06-07
My RTB was very quickly moving towards our sleeper sofa's 'innerds'. Knowing he'd probably disappear in there close to forever - like an idiot I engaged in a tug of war w this 5-1/2' young adult 'strength-o-meter'. I, of course, lost. After finally getting him out by other methods, he seemed more still than usual, so I was it possible to pull on a snake too hard and injure it? Please advise. Thanks.

jeremiah salahub - 2013-10-30
can anyone help me identify my snake....

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-11-01
    We may be able to help you Jeremiah, but will need good pictures. Register through Facebook and then you can upload your pictures for us to look at.
snakeman Nick - 2013-08-23
Hate to burst your bubble, but this 'Colombian 'Red Tail' Boa' pictured is in fact a Bolivian Amarilli boa constrictor, you can tell by the vary small 2-3 red colored saddles at base of tale as well as the faint and vary thin saddle markings on back. They are much nastier to handle than the Colombian Boas.

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-08-27
    Not to worry, our bubble is not at all burst! We love to get comments like this that help to make Animal-World a better site. Sooo... we swapped out the main picture to a true Columbia Boa, and moved this handsome Bolivian Amarilli Boa further down the page (and labeled it correctly!). Thanks so much for your sharp eye and assistance.
kb - 2008-06-26
My rtb, Forbes, is the best snake ever. He will be 3 in July and has never even attempted to bite. I have even needed to clean bedding out of his mouth with no problems from him, and he doesn't mind dogs sniffing at him when he crawls on the floor. He will lay on me for as long as I will rub him - but I can definitely see a difference in his interaction with me as opposed to anyone else.
My boy is very spoiled and he loves it. I take him out of the cage nearly every single day, and he goes swimming and takes drives with me in the summer. I will be sad when he is just too big for me to handle alone. We are in the process of having a floor to ceiling enclosure built for him.
A lot of people ask how big will he get or how long will he live, and when I tell them, the reaction is usually 'what are you going to do with him then?' I'm going to keep him, of course! These reptiles are a true commitment and should not be a short term novelty to 'show-off'. Before purchasing one, be prepared to handle them regulary for many, many years - intentions otherwise are just not fair to them.

  • Ernest Williams - 2011-09-23
    You should never let an RTB on your floors,unless you have just cleaned the floors with a pet safe cleaner. You should also not ware shoes that have worn outside,while you are in your house. You should never let animals near your RTB. You should take a shower before handling your RTB. Captive bred RTB have a poor immune system. It's very common for a young Boa to die from parasites just because the owner was reckless and careless enough to not take all precautions before feeding or handling there snake.
  • Victoria - 2013-08-02
    You can clearly tell that you care for your big boy, and glad to hear you'll give him a great LONG HEALTHY LIFE.
Ernest Williams - 2011-09-23
I just discovered after buying 100 mini-pinkies for $65,that my 3 foot baby rtb would not eat them. They are to small for him to consider as prey. I ordered them from Big Apple Pet Supply. I did not have $75 to order 25 rat pups from Big Apple Pet Supply. I looked for another supplier and found Layne They have more options in order size 10 a time for most of they mice and rats. They also 25,50,100,500,1000 order sizes. I bought 10 rat pups for $49.24,a big price difference. I like the 10 a time option. I can step up the rat size every 2 months,if I need to keep up with his growth. The rat pups are still a tad small for him,but with in minutes of me offering one to him,he ate it. I will order 10 weaned rats from Layne next time at $47.34. I would hate to waste the 99 mini-pinkies that are left I will sale them for $40 to any one in the west Atlanta area,you can reach me at

  • chris - 2012-12-26
    I've owned and deal with all types of snakes. Your 3ft boa should be on small too medium size rats. He or She should be eating 2 smalls or 1 meduim once a week or every 2 weeks. Rats are better for them its makes the snake healthy. Then full grown it will be eating super & or mega jumbo rats or rabbits what ever you deside
Ernest Williams - 2011-09-23
I just bought a year old from Boas and Balls. I payed $215 for him, I named him Agent Orange. He is active and healthy looking,he eats well. I love his cream/orange body color,orange/brown saddles and red/orange tail. They still some of his brothers and sister for sale at $150-550. He 3 feet long is that small for 1?

  • Anonymous - 2011-09-24
    He will get bigger thats for sure. How big are the brothers and sister?