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emerald tree boa

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by

Carla Gish

on 4 May 2010

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Transcript of emerald tree boa

emerald tree boa DESCRIPTION:
An arboreal boa with a large bulky head, thin neck, stout body (can be over 2 inches in diameter) and strong prehensile tail. Pupils are vertically oriented like a cat. Color and pattern depends on locality but in general adults have brilliant green coloration with white to yellow underside and whitish or yellowish bands or blotches. Juveniles are a varied shade of yellow or red or a combination of those colors and green. As with all boas, they have spurs (anal claws) on both sides of the cloaca. Average adult size is between 4 and 6 feet, although those from the Amazon Basin average 7 to 9 feet and may reach as much as ten feet in length.
GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Rainforest of northern South America - Amazon basin from Venezuela through Brazil to northern Bolivia.
DIET:
Birds, rats, monkeys, bats, squirrels and lizards. Kills by constriction or may just crush prey with its strong teeth and jaws. In captivity they are fed every two weeks on mice.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Strictly arboreal and largely nocturnal. Breeds from February to April. Gestation period is in excess of 250 days. Bears 10 to 20 live young, each of which weighs about one and one half ounce and is a foot long. Young are given no maternal care and fend for themselves. At four months of age they start to develop green coloration. Boas live solitary lives except when mating. Life span is 15 to 25 years in captivity.
SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
The body is compressed laterally which allows it to press close to the tree branches. Long powerful fore teeth enable tree boas to penetrate the feathers of birds and hold on to them; in fact they are an advantage in holding any prey and keeping it from dropping to the ground. Heat sensing labial pits located on the upper lip aid in detecting potential food or predators.
The diet consists primarily of small mammals, but they have been known to eat some smaller bird species as well as lizards and frogs. Due to the extremely slow metabolism of this species, it feeds much less often than ground dwelling species and meals may be several months apart. Previously, it had been thought that the primary diet consisted of birds. However, studies of the stomach contents of this species indicate that the majority of its diet consists of small mammals. Juvenile and neonates have also been known to feed on small lizards and frogs, particularly glass frogs by michael
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