Amazon Tree Boa Facts
Scientific name: Corallus hortulanus
Size: 5 – 6ft
Lifespan: 20+ years
Wild Population: 7,000+
Primary Colour: Varies, Black, Gray, Orange, Yellow, Red & More.
Habitat: South-East United States
Difficulty of Keeping: Difficult
Optimum environment Temperature: 85°F hotspot with ambient temp of 82°F
What do they eat? Mice, Small Rats, birds.
Eggs or Live birth: Live baring snake.
Venomous: None venomous/ None poisonous
Are they kept in captivity? Amazon tree boas are not handling snakes, if you own one they will bite you, alot. It does not hurt but this will throw alot of people off these amazing snakes.
Ease of keeping as a pet: A big challenge, not recommended for a new keeper.
Cost: Approx from $80 – $500.
About The Amazon Tree Boa
Unquestionably one of the most striking looking snakes in the world, but at ReptileKingdoms we would second the amazon tree boa to the green tree python. As they name suggest this species of snake spending the majority of its life within the trees. The amazon tree boa is becoming a more widely kept snake as the colour morphs are being expanded and some amazing colourations have been produced.
This species of snake has been commonly kept in the pet trade for 2 to 3 decades now, but as each year goes by, the amazon tree boa’s popularity increases.
We would not recommend the amazon boa to a new or first-time snake owner, this species is well known for not calming down and tolerating handling very well, so yes amazon tree boas bite frequently and often.
If you are looking to increase how to deal with handling aggressive/defensive snakes, the amazon tree boa is a perfect starting point and due to their range and modest speed, you will see huge increases in your confidence within months.
If you too love the look of the amazon tree boa and are not experienced, they can make great display snakes as long as their caging is big enough to allow them to fully stretch out.
Amazon Tree Boa Morphs
Now some of the most stunning colour phases of the amazon tree boa are from the wild type snakes. This is largely dependent on the locality and genetics which differs each snakes colour.
Age is another factor which can alter the colour of the snake slightly, baby amazon tree boas may look nothing like they do now as an adult.
So, what is a morph? A morph in more understandable terms is breeders combining different colours and genes to create off-spring which carry both the genetics and look a certain way.
The colours can range from super bright reds all the way to near jet-black snakes, morphs are usually more expensive than wild type colours. Other than the appearance of the snake no other characteristic changes other than colour.
These can range in cost from $20 – $10,000 for the most expensive amazon tree boa morphs on the market.
Amazon Tree Boa Habitat
The name of the snake really makes their locality a dead give-away, they are commonly found in and around areas of the amazon. But though not all live in the amazon, all the areas are in close proximity around Brazil.
Amazon tree boa’s live in the trees, their name is a real give away with this snake! Snakes which live primarily in trees re called an arboreal snake. Keeping off the ground reduces how vulnerable they are to surrounding predators.
Lurking within the trees, amazon tree boa’s will ambush their prey mostly at night, the reaction and strike speed combined with their supreme accuracy makes them an unbelievable night hunter.
What Do They Eat?
In captivity their diet is easy and feeding frozen-thawed rodents is the most popular choice, it has all the nutrients that a tree boa needs to thrive.
In the wild, amazon tree boas are opportunistic feeders and if they believe in a split second, they are able to swallow the prey, they will attempt to eat it. This can range from the more common foods such as small wild rodents down to small birds/bats (Yes, that fast!!) and even catching the odd lizard too.
Due to not knowing when their next meal is coming the amazon tree boa must seize the chance to get some food and this could be life or death for the snake. Though amazon tree boas’ bodies have adapted to having to go longer periods without food, after a meal, the excess nutrients are stored in the muscle and slowly is used. As the snake becomes hungry, they will move less and less to conserve their energy levels and allowing time to bring their next meal close enough to be eaten.
Amazon Tree Boa Care
We do not recommend the amazon tree boa as first pet snakes; this is purely down to how handling can prove difficult and over-whelm new keepers.
The care such as husbandry is simple and really easy to maintain once set up. Similar to a corn snake or other commonly kept pet snake. They do require a slightly higher humidity, but this is easy to achieve and spraying their cage once in the morning is often more than enough.
Cleaning the enclosure every 1 – 3 months makes it for easy maintained, spot cleaning snake poop from the cage will allow the cage to be completely cleaned out less frequently.
When setting up the vivarium, ensure there is at least one sturdy branch (preferably 2 branches at different levels.) your snake will become very stressed if they are unable to climb and secure themselves above ground.
Do Amazon Tree Boas Bite?
Yes, yes and yes. If being bitten by a snake worries you, do not even consider these snakes. Other great snakes to get started with is the corn snake, king snake or even a ball python.
If you can accept, you’re going to get bit at least once from your pet amazon tree boa and take the time to calm the snake down, amazon trees can be the most rewarding!
With age, amazon tree boa’s “calm down” slightly but do not expect to be able to trust the snake fully. But we have met some owners who have spent a lot of years with a routine handling schedule and the snake become more relaxed and rarely struck.
The cooler side on the enclosure should be between 68 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with a basking spot that is best up to 92 degrees Fahrenheit, these are relatively low compare to dessert snakes and snakes found in north America.
The temps do not need to be adjust if you are keeping a snake as a pet, but if you are looking to breed, lowering the temps for a month slightly increased the snake’s willingness to breed.
When young the caging does not need to be too big, but we recommend starting with a wooden 2.5ft vivarium.
We found wooden caging to be better suited to the amazon tree boa than glass, also it is cheaper to purchase a wooden enclosure. Add a single fixed branch across the entire length of their cage and this will house until 1 – 2 years old (dependant on growth rate).
Once the snake is not able to stretch out entirely or 75% of its body, then it is time to upgrade, in most cases a 3.5ft vivarium is perfect to house them for the rest of their life comfortably.
Height is another thing that must be addressed when getting an enclosure, taller is better and is welcomed by your pet tree boa, but before you go out and buy a 7ft high vivarium, maintaining the correct temps in the cage becomes more difficult, also costing more in energy bills to keep on point.
Only keep one snake per enclosure as this has been proven to cause stress and sometimes proved fatal to one of the snakes.
Handling Tips & Tricks
Handling is the trickiest part of amazon tree boa ownership, but we have a few methods which we have tested over years and compiled all the most effective strategies.
First is using a small item of clothing that you have worn, now not something like a sock that hasn’t seen the washing machine before, just one sock that has your scent still on there. Place it in the corner of the vivarium on the cold side and believe it or not we found this to be really useful in calming down our amazon tree boa’s.
Second, the use of a glove. Now it is no secret that getting bit isn’t the most fun you can have with your pet snake. But jumping around and hesitation when attempting to pick your boa up with just create more defensive behaviour from the snake. Use a single glove just to lift them off their branch and when you are comfortable slowly stop using it.
Third is for someone who has never been bitten by a snake, it’s time to let it happen. Simple as that put your hand into their cage and hold it still so you do not hurt your snakes’ teeth and take the bite, this will prove to you that getting bit is nowhere near as bad as you expect it to be. Bee stings are MUCH worse than an amazon tree boa bite.
Perseverance is the key and consistency to taming an amazon tree boa. If you have any techniques, let us know in the comment section, we always want to try new methods!